Tune In as P.S. 73 Violinists Tune Up – VIDEO

Tucked deep in P.S. 73 is the rehearsal space for the school’s violin students. Earlier this month, we spent a morning enjoying a lesson with a group of eight violinists and their teacher, Mr. Kerrick Sasaki.


Earlier this month, we spent a morning enjoying a a lesson with a group of eight violin students and their teacher, Mr. Kerrick Sasaki. While they ran through several pieces, they worked on their finger placement and pausing for rests in the music.


When asked if they practiced at home, the class answered with a unanimous, enthusiastic, “Yes!” And given the choice–homework or violin–all of them would rather be playing their instruments.


Still, it’s clear that their work with Mr. Sasaki is helping them in their other subjects. “Reading music helps me with math,” said one student. “I learned a new way to read–it’s like another language,” said another.

Watch these students play the classic, “Mary Had A Little Lamb.”

P.S. 73 Students Play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on Their Violins from Change for Kids on Vimeo.

P.S. 73 CFK Violin Performance

Think back to elementary school, to your first time on stage. Whether it was a chorus or band concert, a dance recital or theatrical debut, think back to the moment right before you went on: the nerves, the excitement… the utter dread (eek!).

Eon and his father, Allistair

For the kids in our violin program at P.S. 73, these emotions hit hard Monday morning as they tuned up for their end-of-year performance. Eight-year-old Eon, who has been involved in the program for almost two years, experienced the pre-stage jitters despite it being his second time around. His father, Allistair, tried to help by giving him some sage advice: “I told him to take a deep breath and just let it out. I told him, ‘You’ll do great.’”

And great he certainly did. Eon, along with 44 of his schoolmates ranging from first to fifth grade, wowed us with renditions of “Twinkle, Twinkle,” “Old MacDonald,” and the William Tell Overture. Dressed to impress in ties and flowered headbands, the students performed alongside their teacher, Julliard-trained Majid Khaliq, for the entire P.S. 73 community. Their successful show was a testament to their hard work, dedication, and practice throughout the past year.

All smiles w/ Mr. Majid!

Not to say there weren’t the occasional moments of distraction; basketball and video games sure are fun. Allistair was quick to share an adorable story of Eon’s five-year-old sister encouraging her big brother to play. “There was one time I could tell he was growing tired of practicing,” recounts Allistair, “But before I could say anything, I see my daughter put the violin in front of Eon and tell him, ‘Play something for me. Play something for ME now.’” And with that kind of support as well as the lessons of commitment and perseverance learned, we’re not the least bit nervous about Eon’s future success — in school or with bow in hand.

Congrats to all of our performers at P.S. 73 on Monday! Be sure to press ‘Play’ below to watch them in action.

Sarah’s Chalkboard: 21st Century Skills

Welcome to The Chalkboard, a column devoted to the ins and outs of CFK’s education programs. For the next few months, Education Director Sarah Stevens will be tackling a five-part mini-series on 21st Century Skills – a set of competencies that guide CFK’s program development. First up…Creativity!


Our mission at CFK is to help students develop the confidence to achieve their fullest potential by offering a wide range of opportunities where they can discover their unique talents. An inquisitive brain will constantly want more, and we know developing that thirst for knowledge is the first hurdle in preventing future drop outs. We also want to be sure our students are developing the skills they need to be successful in the 21st century – Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Commitment.
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Springtime School Visits

Here’s the thing about the CFK office: people who stop by, even on simple errands with very specific goals, often end up staying a while. Months, years sometimes.

In the CFK office: Caitlin, Luis (with Kona), Colin and Mike

Luis Morales, new Managing Director at Fortress Investments, arrived to us through the volunteering site Catchafire with a plan to get our office systems into some semblance of order. He promptly went about the business of scrapping our horribly outdated technology and filling the room with enough monitors to look like a Wall Street trading floor. Needless to say, he’s done more to bring the CFK office into the 21st-century than any other individual (read more about the project here).

But the real benefit of all his hard work has been having Luis involved in all things CFK for the last few months, including recent school visits to check out our freshly expanded music programs.

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Bowl for Kids

The wild success of last week’s Bowl for Kids event left us with quite a conundrum here in the office. Is there a bowling metaphor, we wondered, that would accurately convey how ecstatic we were with the turnout and energy at Thursday’s event? Call it a strike, turkey, kingpin or a smorgasbord of spares; whatever the (cheesy) metaphor, it doesn’t do justice to the final count:


That’s enough for comprehensive programming at two of our partner schools: field trips, music lessons, literacy tutoring, Story Pirates, art education, early reading, and school supplies for 1,400 students. PLUS, enough left over to add tutoring sessions on Saturdays, expand fitness and nutrition programming, and ramp up our music program to include more students than we’ve ever been able to serve.

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Year-End Violin and Piano Recitals

Ms. Ai’s and Mr. Majid’s musical instruction throughout the year have given the young musicians of P.S. 154 and P.S. 73 a great deal of confidence, which the students exuded on stage at both schools’ final recitals. It was clear that their practicing had paid off. Everyone in the audience could tell that each student had put significant time and effort into preparing for these concerts. If the kids were nervous, they did not show it. The performances were seamless and the programs ended this school year on a high note.

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