Stand at the edge of the driveway of your neighborhood school. What do you see? What do you hear? Maybe a cat snoozing nearby, or perhaps some neighborhood kids playing basketball down the street. Peaceful. Quiet.

Now stand at the edge of the driveway of Wheatley Middle School. What do you see? What do you hear? The sounds of cars on Highway 35? Fences and walls tagged with graffiti? Construction? Not so peaceful anymore, is it?

For kids in San Antonio, their neighborhood is where they spend their time and their day. Studies conducted by Gary Evans at the Cornell University Department of Human Development have found that “physical environment profoundly influences developmental outcomes including academic development, [as well as] cognitive, social and emotional development,” (Kopko, n.d.). Where young people spend their time matters, and can impact the whole of their learning and development.

Where am I going with this information?

Environmental reality can be offset through involvement in activities that provide a positive and safe place. Children’s Chorus of San Antonio (CCSA) has a dedicated network of neighborhood choirs which provide a way for children to become involved in music right in their own backyard. One of the founding principles of CCSA is to reach every child who has the desire to sing, using rich programming that supports and nurtures their musical potential and, moreover, encourages their growth as creative individuals and their future as engaged citizens.

There is no denying the impact that arts can make on the lives of the children in our neighborhoods.

Over the next few weeks our series Cartas del Coro de los Jóvenes will discuss the impact that a neighborhood choir can make in the lives of San Antonio’s children. Join us every two weeks for interviews and more information!