Boston GLOW is a breeding ground for the modern day superwoman. GLOW fosters opportunities for women of all ages to become empowered community leaders and active world citizens.

Real Girl Leaders: Heidi Park - Musical Steps to Empower Girls

This summer, the Girls' Leadership arm of GLOW is working hard to implement our winning IGNITE Change Project.  In April, our IGNITE Change Initiative awarded 9 additional finalists with scholarships and prizes.   We wanted to share their insightful ideas for community change.  Each Wednesday we will share one winning essay in our new Real Girl Leaders Series.

All essays are an actionable, fund-able community change plan answering the question "If you had one year and one thousand dollars what would you change for women and girls in your school, community or city?"

Our first post is the essay of Heidi Park.  Ms. Park is 16 and lives in Roslindale, MA.

Musical Steps to Empower Girls

by IGNITE Change 2013 Finalist, Heidi Park

Many teen girls in this day and age find it difficult to speak out and express their concerns and think that they are alone in their issues.  They feel insignificant and powerless, thinking that they cannot make a significant impact on the world around them.  With so many volunteer opportunities nowadays, many people give service in countless ways, but there is sometimes a lingering concern of the long lasting impact.  When I help out at a homeless shelter serving food, it give me happiness to know that I am helping someone, but I know that I am only giving them one meal, and it will only last so long.  I don’t feel as though I am making such an impact to improve someone’s life long term.  If one could somehow improve their situation emotionally, intelligently, and in a lasting way, it would give a sense of fulfillment to oneself and more so, the person I helped.  Music holds that power to create change.  For centuries, music has served to express emotions of all kinds, convey messages, soothe, incite and stimulate.  Classical music has been shown to be an intellectual stimulus that is associated with mathematic skills and other academic areas.  Not only does music express great emotions and messages, it incites passion in so many people and serves as a unifying commonality.  Music inspires, connects and strengthens.  Unfortunately, many people to not have significant exposure to music.  Whether it is due to financial or familial reasons, many girls cannot access concerts or opportunities to embrace music.  Also, even when given opportunities for music, often times they are structured and have limited expression due to rigidity.  Furthermore, many girls lack confidence and self esteem, believing that they don’t have any talent, skills, or ability to make change

I propose the creation of “Musical Sisters” club to empower middle and high school girls to come together in music in the city of Boston.  The goal of the club is for girls to express and empower themselves by playing instruments and singing and furthermore to share their gift with people who lack access to music.  These girls would be able to create friendships through sharing their common love of music and impacting the community around them.  The program would have meetings once every two weeks to rehearse the music at a Boston school, after school.  Members would choose the types of music that they want to use for their self-expression, and they would be divided into small ensemble groups by the music that they want to play.  To raise the self-esteem and personalized aspirations of all the members, the members would select the pieces of the songs.  Each ensemble group would have a leader to organize weekly rehearsals, and to lead practices.  This club would be under the guidance of a big sister type female mentor(s).  Every two months the clubs would organize a performance in an area that could benefit by the gift of music.  These places would include homeless shelters, nursing homes, hospitals, schools for handicapped children, and domestic violence survivors.

Members would include girls who already know how to play an instrument or sing, as well as girls who have not had experience, but are willing and interested in learning.  We would have two guitars, a keyboard, and five recorders and two tuners to provide for those members who do not have access to instruments.  Throughout our meetings, while rehearsing, the girls who do not know how to play an instrument would be taught by those with experience, providing an opportunity for learning, gaining experience in teaching and organization, as well as bonding and forming friendships.

Performances at these facilities would also give the girls a chance to display the fruits of their hard work and their self expression.  By performing and seeing their impact on others’ lives, they would build self confidence.  They would realize that they have the ability to make changes in the world, one person at a time.  While helping others and seeing their impacts on other people through these performances, these girls would be realizing their validity and self-worth. Through these performances, the members of the club will be empowered by the positive changes they bring to other peoples' lives. They would no longer feel helpless but instead they would feel powerful, as they witness their influence on the people, with whom they have shared their passion of music.  They would experience the joy of giving and surprised by enjoying and appreciating music by both soothing and inspiring people with it. 

At the end of the school year, the club would hold a benefit concert to celebrate the talents and achievements of the members of Musical Sisters.  At this benefit concert, we could collect donations to funding the program and also bring in new members and raise awareness of the program.  We would advertise with flyers handed out in Boston Public Schools, Boston Public Libraries and community centers.  The venue of this concert would be a Boston Public Library.  Tickets would be sold at a low price prior to the concert as well as on the day of.  For this concert, members of the club would give live performances in solos and ensembles.  We would make posters displaying photographs taken during rehearsals and performances and testimonials of the program members’ experiences.  We would also make banners and signs for the event, as well as new member enrollment forms.  During the intermission, there would be a reception with refreshments of snacks and beverages for the audience and performers. 

In order for Musical Sisters to be easily accessible and easy to find out about, there would be a website.  We would record our performance from the benefit concert and share it on YouTube, which would be shown on the Musical Sisters website.  This website would be used for information about the program, viewing photographs of performances, new member enrollment, news and updates about performances and a calendar.

One of the important questions of the Millennium Development Goals endorsed by the world leaders at the UN Millennium summit in 2000 was, “How can the global community achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women?”   Since then, awareness of gender inequality has increased and in the last decade improvements in equality have been progressing.  I believe there are still many positive steps that I can take to empower girls and reduce inequality in the community we live in.  Naturally, the empowerment of girls will contribute greatly to the empowerment of women.  Music has changed countless lives, and through the power of music we can create change in the lives of young women by self-expression, bonds of friendship and connection, and contributing to the community around us.

I have been playing violin and clarinet for many years and have always been interested in bringing and sharing my talent and opportunity to those in need.  I will lead the Musical Sisters program with my musical experience.  Musical Sisters will certainly empower girls to express themselves, build self-confidence, and also to share their talents and passions with their communities that lack it.



Total Cost: $1,000







Cost per Unit

Total Cost


Contour ROAM2 Action HD





Sunpak platinum plus 4200XL




Memory card

SanDisk Ultra 16 GB microSDHC Class 10




Carrying Case

Lowe Pro





Casio CTK-2300 61 key, stand included





Yamaha F335 Acoustic





LMI soprano recorders




Coping flyers and score

Kinko copier





Cherub Tuner




Sheet music





Music Stands





Refreshment for concert

Beverages, snacks, supplies




Total Cost





Do you like this post?

Be the first to comment