Todd’s Road Rhythem Raiders
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In 2013 two local volunteers—Mr. Wilmer E. Melendez, a retired American citizen, and Ms. Shanti Sankar-Williams—started an after-school program. The concept of this organization recognized the critical needs of the youth population and started offering off-the-school grounds programming such as mentoring, a youth band, and a summer music camp revolving around the culture of Trinidad and Tobago’s national instrument, the Steelpan.
This project is also a tool in the direction of reducing at-risk youths who may otherwise be a statistic of, rather than an asset to, their community. The Rhythem Raiders organization is a positive influence in this regard, and has members from seven different villages: Todd’s Road, Caparo, Mamoral, Arena, Longdenville, Carlsen Field and Flanagin Town – who travel to our pan yard. Our players are aged six through seventeen and over, while our rhythm section is made up of the children’s parents. Our group falls within the South/Central region and we compete against the small bands in this area.
With a vision, mission and set values the Rhythem Raiders Steel Orchestra has become an established community presence founded on the following organizational values: one community working together as a team; respect for the community, the surroundings, and themselves; the belief that everyone has unlimited potential; and knowing that playing, learning, and growing is fun and a central part of the program experience.
Rhythem Raiders Steel Orchestra’s approach to youth development addresses the barriers that village youth typically face - by providing opportunities to build the skills and confidence needed to break the cycle of not being recognized as the future leaders of this nations. Its year-round academic, enrichment and music programs are free of charge and open to participants regardless of musical or academic ability. Once youth join the organization, they are part of a safe, supportive and engaging environment until they graduate from form school and matriculate to college.
Edited by When Steel Talks
Data source: W.R. Melendez (Founder/ Manager)