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We know it statistically and we know it intrinsically: when a young person has a meaningful and fulfilling activity to do in his or her time away from school, there is less time for boredom or for getting in trouble. As we sometimes say is our mantra, give them "violins, not violence." This is why we do what we do. Of course, it's the very people who have been through our programs who say it best ...

  • Since the age of five, Art for Life's Sake (AFLS) has been a part of my life - from helping me develop oratorical skills, self-discipline, to musical talents. My successes in placing in national speech competitions were outcomes of AFLS experiences. The discipline and aspiration acquired helped to prepare me for a bachelor degree in computer science. Socially, AFLS gave me some of the tools for peaceful resolutions and building supportive relationships. Because of this, I am inspired and committed to serve with AFLS in coaching others in music education and promoting self-discipline. I am Xavier J. Patterson.

  • Studying the violin with Art for Life's Sake was a magical experience that set the groundwork for educational successes and new cultural experiences. It sparked an interest in people, places, and things that I may not have concerned myself with had I not been a part of the program. Art for Life's Sake exposed me to Memphis history and African-American culture through the many field trips we took to sites in the city. I learned discipline through my music, which caused me to want to excel in school. I gained patience and perseverance during all the hours of practice to sound my best. I enjoyed learning my craft with peers from a variety of backgrounds, neighborhoods and cultures especially when I began playing in orchestras in middle and high school. I feel that I am more well-rounded and aware of different perspectives of the world around me. The violin helped me gain a music scholarship to the University of Memphis, where I played with their symphony orchestra for two and a half years. I am thankful to have been a participant in something that enriched my everyday life. — Jhanae White

  • As a parent of a child that started her violin lessons at AFLS, I know first-hand the program is much more than music lessons. It's a program that sets the stage for different levels of your child's learning ability whether or not they become professional musicians. AFLS is designed to teach, inspire and expand a child's mind. AFLS gave my daughter Corey encouragement to pursue various opportunities. She was concertmaster for her high school orchestra and was a part of GYSO Youth Symphony. Corey is now a freshman at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. where she is majoring in vocal music performance and playing in Calvin's Orchestra. — Margaret Johnson

  • I am currently a sophomore at the University of Memphis. I began studying the violin at Art For Life's Sake at the age of four. I participated in the myriad opportunities that existed at AFLS — summer programs, Saturday classes, cultural activities, performances and so much more. Studying violin at AFLS provided me with the opportunity to work with highly experienced violin instructors. It was this foundation that provided me the opportunity to play in multiple orchestras: Colonial Middle School, Overton High School, and both the Memphis Youth Symphony Ensemble and Sinfonia. I am so grateful for all of the opportunities that this organization has given me and opened doors to, that I decided to come back to help the next generation of AFLS students and help the organization as a whole. — Sokoya Cooper