When Little Rock School District Safety and Security Officer Chad Henson signed on at Jefferson Elementary School, he knew he wanted to make a difference in the lives of students. Recalling his love for music and the role it played in helping him during his formative years, he decided that he wanted to help Jefferson students develop that same passion. There was one problem - the students, to whom he wanted to introduce music, didn't have instruments, nor did they have the means to acquire them. Henson contacted the non-profit organization Art Porter Music Education, Inc. (APME) for help.
The request aligned perfectly with APME's mission - to provide scholarships and to enhance reading, language and mathematical skills and other learning experiences" for students through music. The non-profit assisted another aspiring music student at Jefferson in acquiring a violin and music lessons in 2012.
Through its significant contacts in the community, APME developed a plan with partner Saied Music Company in North Little Rock. In business since 1946, Saied's manager says it was a natural partnership and a win-win for his company, APME and the students at Jefferson.
"We've been a strong advocate for music in schools for many years," said Saied manager Pat Bowles. "Our company believes that music education is important - it helps students with their core curriculum, including improving math and literacy scores - really in all aspects of life."
"We are thankful to Mr. Bowles and Saied Music Company for allowing the students to use the instruments free of charge. We are equally excited that our Safety and Security Officer, Mr. Henson, has volunteered to teach the students music lessons," said Principal Roberta Mannon. "It demonstrates that while all of our employees may not be assigned to our campus as educators, they understand that the role of teaching and mentoring goes well beyond the classroom."