Social Entrepreneurs Try to Offer Solutions to K-12 Problems
Competition for financial backing is intense
Upset that the elementary school where he taught didn't have a music program, David Wish traded in favors from a few musician friends to collect a ragtag fleet of instruments. Before long, his 1st and 2nd graders at Hawes Elementary School in Redwood City, Calif., were writing their own songs, recording and selling CDs, and attracting attention from newspapers, radio stations, and musical stars like Carlos Santana—who sent the school $10,000 worth of guitars.
Mr. Wish ultimately had to turn away interested students despite teaching music before school, after school, and during lunch periods, so he began training other teachers to lead classes the way he did. Instead of standard, classical pieces, children were encouraged to experiment with songs that were more modern and relevant to their urban lives.
"I wasn't doing it because I wanted to be a social entrepreneur and start an organization," said Mr. Wish, the founder and executive director of Little Kids Rock, a Cedar Grove, N.J.-based nonprofit that has become one of the largest free instrumental-music programs in U.S. public education since its start in 2002. It serves more than 200,000 low-income...
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