I’d like to tell you a little about the project I’m a part of back in Steubenville.
The city of Steubenville was once a bustling steel town, but after the steel mills closed really nothing was left; the economic backbone of the city was broken. That was about 30 years ago and yet still we are seeing the depression inflicted on the city and its people. There is major economic depression and as a result many youth have turned to the thriving drug market run by the many very active gangs in steubenville, all aided by even larger gangs from the Chicago area. There is a lot of violence (shootings occur more regularly than you’d think) and hatred on those streets. We are trying to in some ways curb this.
The city is finally realizing that it is no longer a steel town and is slowly beginning to embrace the university, accepting that it is a college town. Me and 6 of my peers from the university have created what we have named The Harmonium Project, its aim is to act as a catalyst in the economic revitalization of downtown Steubenville as well as offer something alternative and more solid to the children of Steubenville which will hopefully reduce their attraction to becoming a part of gangs and the ugly cycle therein.
We are seeking to do this in this way: we have a large pool of students who want to spend money, on food and a good night out with their friends, however because of the gang violence in other parts of Steubenville, the students have the misperception that the downtown area is unsafe, thus they do not venture down there and discover the amazing restaurants and businesses in the downtown area. We would like to give them a really good reason to come to downtown to show them that there is indeed a lot offered by downtown and that it isnt dangerous like the rumors have it, and that reason is music!
We have a beautiful old building right in the middle of downtown that we are leasing and remodeling, turning it into a music venue to hold concerts, thus attracting the students, community members, and even people from all around including Pittsburgh. This will bring people to the downtown area to discover and support the great businesses there thus spurring other business leaders to put up shop in the downtown area. The way in which we hope to help curb gang involvement is not only by starting the economic revitilation and bringing in businesses for the parents and teenagers alike to have better jobs and income but also by bringing the kids of steubenville into the beauty of music by offering free music lessons for anyone, thus not only taking them off of the streets but keeping their mind, body, and soul focused on something that is truly beautiful: beauty is truth, and truth is God.
We are currently running our main fundraiser campaign to finish all the work we have already started on this project. We are seeking to raise this money to buy the building, put in the sound and lighting for the music venue, buy instruments for the music lessons (many have already been donated but we will still need to buy more) and any other expense that will arise to keep this project going.
It would mean a lot to me if you went to our fundraiser site and watched our video, considered donating (even $10 goes a long ways), and spread word to anyone and everyone you know!
Please, visit The Harmonium Project Site, watch the informative video and please consider making a donation to this worthy cause. There are special “incentives” offered for each level of contribution. For example, you can donate $20 and receive a music CD from Audrey Assad or Sam Rocha. For $30 you can receive a magazine subscription. And for larger contributions you can get free tickets to future events, the opportunity to have something in the building named after you (or the person you designate), and all sorts of other acclaim and appreciation.