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    Harmonikids Session for Disadvantaged and At-Risk Youth in San Antonio

    10 October, 2016

    On August 13, 2016 I provided a Hohner-sponsored Harmonikids session at the SPAH (Society for the Preservation and Advancement of Harmonica) convention in San Antonio, Texas. The session was coordinated with the help of SPAH president Michael D'Eath and SPAH member Greg Jones benefitting children from humanitarian organization "SA Heals". From their website, "SA Heals is a faith-based non-profit with a mission to restore health and wholeness on San Antonio's Eastside" fighting "abuse, disease, hunger and poverty - one child, one school, one neighborhood at a time." Their mission "focuses on the children with a holistic approach to educate, encourage and empower them."

    In the session seven kids were overjoyed as they were entertained then gifted Hohner-donated harmonicas and taught to play four songs. It was a rousing success and the kids were very enthusiastic and proud of their newly discovered musical ability. Harmonikids programs provide the therapeutic joy of learning music to children with challenges such as these. The sessions elevate self esteem and confidence at a very crucial time in their lives. Perhaps the best way to illustrate the many benefits the youth gained from the experience is to share the following inspirational feedback and photos I received from SA Heals director Charlie Foltz.

    ~ Gary Allegretto, Harmonikids Founding Director, www.harmonikids.org

    SA Heals is a non-profit working with inner city kids on the eastside of San Antonio.  Every day, the kids are faced with abuse, addiction, hunger, poverty and violence.  There are very few bright spots, but this past Saturday, we were able to bring 7 kids to participate with Gary Allegretto and the Harmonikids program.  Although they didnt know what to expect, they soon became obsessed with playing the harmonica.  Each kid loved learning and playing with Gary... so AWESOME!  The highlight was two of the kids returned home and practiced all afternoon.  They came to church that night and played all the songs they had just learned with huge smiles on their faces.  Even though they were only with Gary for a short amount of time, I believe the Harmonikids program will have an impact that could last a lifetime. Thank You Gary!

    ~ Charlie Foltz, Director of SA Heals, www.saheals.com