On January 2, 2003 Genuine Voices launched its first program on the west coast, in Skagit Valley, WA. This program was initiated by Juri Shigeta while she was traveling in the area theprevious year. She had spent part of her senior year of high school as an exchange student at Burlington High School and wanted to return and give something back to the area. She was introduced to the At-Risk Intervention Specialist program, in partnership with Krav Maga Amsterdam and the Skagit Valley Family YMCA. These organizations were perfect matches to work with Genuine Voices on the goal of enhancing the lives and futures of youths using music. One year after this meeting Juri returned to the Skagit Valley with the support and funding that was needed to start the music program there. Once again Gary from the Midiman Corp. was very supportive and donated the Reason Software that the students use to create their tracks on the computer.
Funds from the Berklee Alumni Grant were used to buy keyboards and computer interfaces for the 2 locations. Juri spent two weeks working with students in the area and her time finished off with 2 concerts in which students were able to showcase their talents and creations. Genuine Voices is currently seeking funding to pay for teachers who can continue to reach more youths in the area.
Special Thanks to Peter, Teen Services Director at the Skagit Valley YMCA, and to Mick, Intervention Specialist for Skagit County Youth and Family Services. Also thanks to Ryan, an employee at Guitar Center in Lynnwood,WA, who taught music lessons in this program. Thanks to Stephon from the Skagit Valley Herald. And special thanks to Linda who brought everyone together which made this program possible.