Union City Music Project


Suite 2
716 23rd St.
Union City, NJ 07087
County: Hudson


Ms. Melina A. Garcia

Grant Amount


Program Area



Grant Details

For UCMP's El Sistema after-school orchestral music education program for at-risk children throughout Hudson County, NJ.

Organization Background

Union City Music Project (UCMP) is a bilingual educational organization that uses music as a vehicle for social change for at-risk children in Hudson County, NJ by providing access to long-term after school orchestral/vocal instruction and performance opportunities. Through an immersive, cooperative, and fun-filled learning environment that integrates parental involvement, our pre-K-8th-grade programming inspires academic excellence, enhances life skills, and builds community. UCMP accomplishes these goals through our 34-week After School Program, three-week Summer Day Camp, and year-round activities such as Concert Field Trips, Parent Workshops, Visiting Artists Program, Student Mentors, and regular NYC-area performances of the UCMP Children's Orchestra and Chorus.

Modeled after El Sistema (the globally-successful children's music education initiative), Union City Music Project was founded in October 2011 in Union City as New Jersey's first El Sistema-inspired after school music program for underserved urban children. (In Union City, 84% of residents are Latino (50% of children are foreign born), and 21% live below the poverty line.)

In Spring 2012, UCMP began its first 12-week After School Orchestral Music Education Program at Union City's Hostos Center for Early Childhood Education (ECC), offering 50 3-to-6-year-olds our "Paper Orchestra" training, where children create their own paper mache violins to learn instrument handling and care. During the 2012-2013 school year, UCMP continued at the ECC with 67 pre-K, kindergarten, and 1st grade children learning choral singing and graduating to real violins, cellos, bells, and percussion. For the 2013-2014 scholastic year, UCMP moved its After School Program to Union City's Robert Waters Elementary School, where 65 pre-K, kindergarten, and 1st to 4th graders continued training in violin, cello, percussion, and chorus, and began flute and clarinet instruction.

To allow more Hudson County children to participate in our After School Orchestral Music Education Program, UCMP relocated in Fall 2014 to the Park Theatre Performing Arts Center (Union City, NJ), where 65 students from Pre-K to 6th grade learned violin, cello, double bass, percussion and bells, flute and clarinet. (Children under 18 make up 131,293 or 21% of Hudson County's densely populated urban centers; more than 50% of these children are foreign born (42% Latino), and 22% live below the poverty line.)

UCMP's Executive Director and Founder Melina Garcia is a media specialist who worked for the William J. Clinton and Wayuu Taya Foundations and Venezuelan Mission to the United Nations. She graduated this past summer from the Prudential Foundation's two-year Nonprofit Leadership Program at Rutgers Business School, for which the Dodge Foundation nominated her to apply. UCMP's Music Director Samuel Marchan has taught music to children for over 25 years, and holds a B.A. in Viola Performance (Juilliard School), and an M.A. in Music Performance (NYU).

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