Harmonikids Session with Troubled Youth at Cochise County Juvenile Detention Center
05 December, 2019
On October 26, 2019 I provided a Hohner-sponsored Harmonikids session to participants at the Cochise County Juvenile Justice Center in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Over the years Harmonikids’ ongoing programs to assist the youth in detention facilities have become among my personal favorites because the teen participants (some of whom have been neglected, abandoned, and/or abused in their young lives) receive much-needed self esteem and confidence from the experience. Harmonikids provides a healthy and positive form of creative expression and emotional release for detained youth in this crucial time in their lives. Simply stated, the lessons often become an inspiration for these adolescents to grow, change, forgive the world – and themselves. The harmonica often becomes a powerful but gentle tool to help kids get back on track. Long ago I learned to never underestimate the strength of music and the harmonica as a remarkable tool to reach out and make a positive difference in young lives. The benefits Harmonikids provided are shared bellow in the insightful commentary received from facility detention supervisor Raylene Butcher who describes the joyful and awakening response experienced by the youth from the session.
~ Gary Allegretto, Founding Director of Harmonikids, www.harmonikids.org
“We so appreciated Gary's visit to the Cochise County Juvenile Detention Center. Everyday we deal with broken wounded children that need a little bit of sunshine in their lives. When Gary visited us on Sunday I watched their faces light up as he began to play for them. Then he handed out a harmonica to each child, and to watch their faces and their delight was so wonderful. I feel that kids that had no hope felt such joy in that room. I also feel that Gary may have awakened a love for doing their own music. Thank you so much for such a wonderful, wonderful day!”
~ Raylene Butcher, Supervisor, Cochise County Detention Center