Non-profit transforms music studio into distance learning center

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — High schooler Gabriel Escalante will tell you firsthand that the David’s Harp Foundation, a nonprofit downtown music studio, has changed his life since he was a freshman. .

“I’m happy to be here. Without them, I’d probably be on the streets wasting time,” Escalante said.

ABC 10News highlighted the nonprofit when it opened in 2018, our presenter Steve Atkinson presented them with a 10News Leadership Award. Recognition, well-deserved with their mission to provide at-risk youth with state-of-the-art music equipment to cultivate their creative abilities.

Everything was driven by an exchange, students can access the material as long as they maintain their grades.

“I went from 1.86 to 3.75, just because I’m here every day,” Escalante described.

But exactly a year ago, when COVID-19 hit, it threw founder Brandon Steppe off the hook.

“We didn’t know what was going to happen. The doors closed and we were sad. Young people were sending us messages,” Steppe said.

Steppe also knew that teenagers like Escalante relied on the studio as an outlet. He learned that 92% of their students missed school during the first months of distance learning.

“We knew we had to respond. Education is at the heart of our mission,” says Steppe.

That’s when a generous grant of over $50,000 arrived from Cox Communications. This allowed Steppe to transform its music hub into a hybrid distance learning space to continue educating during the pandemic.

Steppe was grateful it ended on a high note because he said these children held a special place in his heart.

“To have this space, WiFi, desks, and adults with a relationship of trust, that was it,” Steppe said. “They represent our community’s greatest potential for growth and we know that in a place like San Diego, there’s no reason young people can’t thrive. We will continue to change because these young people in are worth it, they are worth it.”