RIVERVIEW, Fla. — A local organization offers performing and visual arts classes to children in the Bay Area.
“Our program is really designed to really get kids on the right track or keep them on the right track,” said Joel Greene, program coordinator at Prodigy Moves. “It’s a bit like meals on wheels, but classes on wheels. Really bring these courses to tourist sites and people who need them,” Greene said.
They travel in a brightly colored van to where their services are needed most. “Drums, vocals, visual arts, break dancing. We mix that with life skills,” Greene said.
Prodigy Moves has been around for about six years and many of their kids programs are absolutely free. “So we’re on our way to the Tampa CDC site at Rodgers Middle School. We will teach a West African drum player, specifically the djembe. It is a type of hand drum for young people in middle school to early high school. Come with us,” Greene said.
“It was really fun because in fifth grade I was playing drums, but it was a very short experience because of covid,” Maria said. For Maria, this course is an opportunity to express her creative side and to make friends. “I had to, like, talk to them and like, they were like, ‘oh, yeah, that’s hard,’ and I was helping them with the drums and we were encouraging each other as well,” Maria said. .
This is Addison’s fourth class and a chance for her to try something new over the summer. “I mean, the first one, it wasn’t very good because it was my first and I had never really played drums before, but I got a lot better,” Addison said.
Freddy Montes is a renowned musician and their instructor. Drawing from his Afro-Cuban roots, he’s been teaching people how to play the drums for around 40 years and he says it’s about more than music. “Also developing a thing in the brain. Music gives them another sensibility,” Montes said.