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    Harmonikids Hohner-Sponsored Sessions For Youth In A Nevada Juvenile Detention Facility

    13 May, 2022

    On April 29, 2022 I brought my Hohner-sponsored Harmonikids session to 14 participants at China Springs Youth Camp in Gardnerville, NV. The rehabilitation facility is “dedicated to helping male and female mid-level offenders between the ages of 12 and 18 develop skills, knowledge, and experience to promote health and resiliency, arrest progression of problems caused by delinquent behavior”. Sadly, some of these teens are there ultimately as a result of challenging and dysfunctional home environments. Their confidence and self-esteem are often shaken if not shattered – leaving them feeling broken, hopeless, and trapped. Before my session started, there was plenty of apprehension and nervous energy - then within minutes, lessons and music made on harmonicas changed all of that. The session was a resounding success. The youth were soon fully engaged and excited. They giggled joyfully, openly proud of their success and their newfound skill of learning to accurately play songs on instruments. 

    Harmonikids provides youth such as these a healthy and positive form of creative expression and emotional release in this crucial time in their lives. Simply stated, the lessons often become an inspiration for these adolescents to succeed, grow, communicate, change, forgive the world – and themselves. The harmonica often becomes a strong but gentle tool to help kids get back on track. Long ago I learned to never underestimate the power of using music and the harmonica as an extraordinary instrument to reach out and make a difference in young lives. The attached feedback from a facility supervisor Kevin Lewis at a previous session illustrates that point, and the comments from a few of the youth say it all. 

    ~ Gary Allegretto, founding director of Harmonikids, www.harmonikids.org




    Mr. Allegretto did an exceptional job working with the residents of China Spring Youth Camp while teaching them the basics of playing the instrument. Gary was quickly able to engage each resident due to his positive attitude, skill set, and energy. All residents were appreciative of the opportunity to work with Gary while learning new instrument and life skills. Each resident was provided a harmonica and they greatly appreciated this. Here are some of their responses: 


    "It was the coolest thing I have ever been to. I liked the his comment about mistakes, we make them but we correct them and they lead us to the right way."


     "He was a nice gentleman and made us feel good about ourselves. He praised our good behavior." 


    "AMAZING! The way he played and taught the class." 


    "COOL!  We actually got a harmonica to keep and learned to play hands on. He gave us a tool we can use when we get out of here." 


    "Blew my mind. I have mad respect for him as a person and his playing! Gave me motivation to play the harmonica."


    ~ Kevin Lewis, CSYC Client Care Manager/FTO