Budget cuts in schools are a terrible thing.  Whether it's teachers or programs that are cut in order to balance a budget, the kids are the losers.

It always seems that the "arts" are the first cuts made in school curriculum since music, art, etc., aren't seen as essential classes.  Too bad, too, because the "arts" have the opportunity to greatly broaden a students education.

St. Cecilia's Music Center certainly has noticed the problem, and is trying to help in a small way that they hope will grow to become a big way.

Hamilton Elementary is the first Grand Rapids school involved in what is being called, "Strings to Schools."

It's a free pilot program that provides training, music and instruments for students, all of whom entered the program without even knowing how to read music.

Cathy Holbrook, Executive Director of St. Cecilia Music Center, is the driving force behind the effort.  She says that, even though it's a small program, they hope to take it to many schools in the future.

To get into the program, students were required to write essays explaining why they wanted to learn how to play a string instrument before being allowed to participate.

Funding is always an issue with programs like this, and St. Cecelia is looking for help.  How about you?  If you'd like to help with funding, and see that this program will be able to expand to more schools, you can contact St. Cecilia's at (616) 459-2224.