Youth orchestra honored as nonprofit of the year

By Emilie St. John

Contributing Writer

INGLEWOOD — State Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Inglewood, has selected the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles as the 35th State Senate District’s nonprofit of the year. The orchestra is recognized across the nation for its contributions to the arts through the inclusion and development of young, underrepresented musicians.

“I am honored to highlight this incredible organization,” Bradford said in a statement. “I have been a longtime supporter of the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles because it provides an artistic outlet for talented musicians and a valuable source of education and expression to our young people here in Los Angeles.”

Founded in 2009, the orchestra helps transform the lives and minds of young people through high-quality music education. 

The orchestra teaches inner-city youth about the great music of the world and provides opportunities for them to perform that music in settings throughout the community. Orchestra members are prepared for advanced study and high-caliber success in music and otherwise. 

“We instill the ancillary benefits that music instruction provides: problem-solving skills, critical thinking, self-reliance, self-confidence, self-discipline, and the crystallization and pursuit of meaningful purpose,” said Charles Dickerson, founder, conductor and executive director of the orchestra.

The orchestra features more than 100 primarily African-American and Latino young musicians. The orchestra also offers music lessons for children beginning their musical journey, a drum corps program that prepares young percussionists to join college drumline programs, another drum corps program for young people living in Los Angeles County Juvenile Hall facilities and free instruction, instruments and supplies to all students.

“The Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles are overwhelmingly grateful to [Sen. Bradford] for nominating our organization to be the Nonprofit of the Year,” Dickerson added. “We strive to uplift the young people in the community that we serve, and this nomination and recognition serve as encouragement for us to keep doing the work to which we are dedicated.”

The Nonprofit of the Year event, presented in partnership with the California Association of Nonprofits, features a luncheon at the State Capitol that allows members of the state Legislature to highlight the work of and honor a deserving nonprofit organization from their districts.

Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist covering the areas of Carson, Compton, Inglewood and Willowbrook. Send tips to her at emiliesaintjohn@gmail.com.

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