SoulBounce attended the 2019 Roots Picnic in Philadelphia as a guest of Cricket Wireless, who sponsored the lively Podcast Stage at the event. Now in its 12th year, the annual music festival celebrated two noteworthy cultural milestones: the 40th anniversary of Black Music Month and the 20th anniversary of The Roots' iconic album, Things Fall Apart. In addition to enjoying a full day of dope performances from a multitude of SoulBounce faves, such as H.E.R., Raphael Saadiq, Ari Lennox, Tank and The Bangas and Moonchild, our friends at Cricket Wireless introduced us to Play On, Philly!, a community organization committed to youth music education.
Established in 2011 at St. Francis de Sales School in West Philadelphia, Play On, Philly! (POP) founder and president Stanford Thompson set out to transform the lives of 110 young people between the ages of 6-13 through music education. Students in grades K through 12 receive two-and-a-half hours of after-school programming in music instruction and ensemble practice and more than 25 performance opportunities annually. Now serving 325 students and over 30 performances in, POP is fulfilling its mission and meeting its goals by providing underserved children with access to high-quality music education and performance experience that instills confidence and spurs academic achievement and social success.
Generous donations from individual donors cover the tuition-free enrollment and instrument costs, however, at the 2019 Roots Picnic, Cricket Wireless linked its corporate giving power with POP to make a sizeable investment in our children to the tune of $50,000. This substantial gift and partnership will fund summer programming for two years for 25 students.
School budgets for art education have been obliterated over the years. We applaud POP and good corporate citizens like Cricket Wireless for bridging the gap by giving amazingly talented youth in Philadelphia access to the discipline, structure and confidence that music education affords.
Watch the video below to learn more about Play On, Philly! and their partnership with Cricket Wireless. Get more familiar with Play On, Philly! and see how you can get involved on Facebook, Twitter and the organization's website.