Institute of Music for Children


780 Salem Avenue
Elizabeth, NJ 07208
County: Union


Ms. Alysia Souder

Grant Amount


Program Area



Grant Details

For support of the Institute of Music for Children's year-round arts training and community building programs for urban youth.

Organization Background

The Institute of Music for Children develops the personal and communal potential of 650 urban youth annually through economically accessible, high-quality arts training in a secure environment. The Institute believes that artistic expression and the creative process prepare children for success, endow them with life skills and self-confidence, and realize our vision of H.A.R.M.O.N.Y - Helping Achieve Responsible Motivated Optimistic Neighborhood Youth.

In 1995, schools in Elizabeth school budgets were being slashed and the arts were being cut, if not totally eliminated. The Third-Westminster Presbyterian Church founded the Institute to provide families with affordable, high-quality artistic training in a secure surrounding. The Institute was incorporated in 2003, encouraging the community to take ownership and unleash its compassion in order to maximize the potential of the Institute.

In 2008, award-winning arts educator Alysia Souder was hired as the first Executive Director, ushering in an era of explosive growth, deeper community connections, and stellar service. This year, Ms. Souder's leadership was celebrated as a Finalist for the Fairleigh Dickinson Center for Excellence and the Center for Non-Profits' Emerging Non-Profit Leader of the Year Award. The Institute's efforts were rewarded with a commendation by the New Jersey Senate and Assembly and a Citation of Excellence from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Governed by an 8-member Board of Trustees, administered by Ms. Souder, and staffed by a roster of the state's best Master Teaching Artists, the Institute is proud of its diversity at every level - Board, staff and teachers. With students of Haitian, African, Brazilian, Asian, Latin American and Malagasy backgrounds -- in addition to African American - we strive to reflect that immense diversity in their adult mentors.

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