Frequently Asked Questions

Is the organization a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization or is there a fiscal sponsor?
Musicians for Education is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with no fiscal sponsor.

What is the annual budget?
Musicians for Education's 2013 annual budget is $125,000.

Is there a board of directors or an advisory council?
Yes, we have a board of directors and an advisory council.

What do donations fund?
Donations fund the organization's signature program called Street of Dreams supporting teen mothers in urban San Diego who are at the highest risk of entering prison due to the generational effects of drug addiction, alcoholism and poverty. Among our participating students (who come from backgrounds of hopelessness and often live in shelters), Street of Dreams consistently achieves a 100% program completion rate, a 100% high school retention rate, a 100% high school graduation rate and a 100% college entry rate.

How does the program work? Is this an hour a day? A whole school day?
Operating year-round, Street of Dreams arts education classes are held at Lindsay Community Day School (a juvenile court and community school). Weekly three-hour workshops are taught by many of San Diego's most well-known artists. Workshops include public performance, video production, photography and film making, however, the real focus is on literacy, and the major portion of the classes is spent on creative writing.

Using a simple method called "word art," the creative process is used as a healing mechanism. Our students are guided to view their difficult pasts as their greatest artistic asset. They become "artists of their own lives". They begin to transform feelings of hopelessness into art works and public performance. The performance provides a forum for teen mothers who have been without a voice. Their original creations (book of poetry, music video, public performance) provide a profound emotional, informative and cathartic experience for our participants and their audience. This process is essential to the healthy development of our young mothers who have been isolated from normal social interaction. A dead end becomes a Street of Dreams.

What are the goals of the program? After the students "find their voice", what's next?
The Street of Dreams program's main goal is to reduce the alarming rate of homelessness and juvenile incarceration among teen mothers by providing a high school and college education before our girls reach the age where they can be incarcerated in an adult prison.

Other goals of the program include the following among at-risk, disadvantaged teen mothers in
San Diego:
--Provide opportunities to increase likelihood of graduation from high school and attendance in college (two-year or vocational degree)
--Positively impact the effects of generational drug abuse, alcoholism, domestic violence and poverty
--Increase awareness that a college education is available and attainable
--Achieve a program graduation rate of 100% by participants
--Improve self-esteem and self-awareness toward a life of self-sufficiency
--Reduce levels of drug/alcohol abuse and domestic violence

Once students graduate from the Street of Dreams program, many return as college students and mentor their younger peers. The program currently includes 15 mentors (five college graduates and 10 college students).

How many students are helped each school year? How many students have you served since the program was created?
Our Street of Dreams program currently serves approximately 100 students each school year. Since its inception in 1998, the program has served over 3,000 students.

Do you have selection criteria for the students?
The classroom teacher at Lindsay Community Day School selects who will participate in the Street of Dreams program each year. The teacher selects the participating students based on a variety of factors including which students will benefit most and those most open to participating.

Are students incentivized to attend? If so, how?
Yes. We give college scholarships and student awards to those who participate. For example, college support funds (scholarships) are available for students who enroll in college which helps them to pay for their college expenses. Also, five participating students are given monetary and/or in-kind awards each year for perfect attendance.

Is there a way to follow-up after or does the relationship end after students turn 18 and are emancipated?
Yes, there is a way to follow-up through our "dream team" project. The Street of Dreams dream team is comprised of five Street of Dreams alumni who are college graduates and 10 Street of Dreams high school and college students. This 15-person team functions as a peer mentorship group whose objective is to help the younger girls navigate their way through the first difficult years of college life.

Why should I care about this small group? Do they really go on to college or other meaningful work?

"When you educate a boy, you educate a boy. When you educate a girl, you educate a generation". Studies prove that an educated girl and especially an educated mother helps to break the cycle of generational drug addiction, alcoholism, poverty and violence which leads to adult incarceration and communities of women as lifelong wards of the system.

Why does this program work?
We have a unique chemistry among our students, artists, high school teachers, college professors, board of directors and advisory council members. Many people from successful local organizations with high success rates have come together to achieve outstanding results. Musicians for Education delivers standards-based academic elective credits that make it possible for our students to graduate from high school and qualify to enroll in college. Lindsay Community Day School delivers social services and a high school diploma. San Diego City College delivers student support systems and a college education. The Federal Defenders of San Diego provides annual funding to leverage additional support. The results speak for themselves—a 100% success rate.

What would a gift of say, $1,000 allow you to do? What about $9,000? Is there something tangible you can attach to certain dollar levels?
$9,000 – Pays all expenses including all curriculum materials, diapers and classroom supplies for three teen mothers to participate in the Street of Dreams program for one full year
$3,000 – Pays all expenses including curriculum materials, diapers and classroom supplies for one teen mother to participate in the Street of Dreams program for one full year
$1,000 – Pays for the cost of curriculum materials for 50 outreach students (Street of Dreams outreach programs for juvenile and adult, and prison reentry/recovery agencies) for one year

There is infinite value in how the Street of Dreams program helps teen mothers transform their lives from utter hopelessness and helplessness as they graduate high school, enter college and become powerful and stronger young women.