Recently established in 2010, CITYstage has worked to ensure that youth from poor, under-resourced communities achieve personal growth through participation in the performing arts. Serving approximately 180 low-income, impoverished, inner city youth, grades 6-12, CITYstage provides their free, integrated performing arts program for youth at five different sites including homeless children living on Skid Row, after school and at a summer camp. Sadly, without CITYstage, these students do not receive instruction in any comprehensive arts programs, which means they will never have an opportunity to discover or pursue artistic interests, attend live performing arts events or know the thrill and fulfillment that comes from performing on stage. At a critical time in their lives when they need guidance, inspiration and confidence to stay in school, CITYstage offers consistent mentoring while cultivating individuality, artistic expression and academic achievement. CITYstage will launch a unique instrumental music program with their WHY grant for $14,300.00. The grant will provide classroom materials and equipment (conga drums, bugarabu drums, balafon + beaters, djembe drums, shekere, clave, gankogui double bell set, dunun bell set, frikywa bell, apitua bell set, 14 key Ghana gyli), Latin/Afrocuban auxiliary instruments (conga set, cajon, cabasa, maracas, multi guiro, guiro scraper, agogo bells, cowbell, vibra slap, rainstick, tambourine), guitar class (guitars, cases, straps and picks), songwriting and music production class (computers, specific software, condenser, mic package, headphones, monitors, piano, keyboard stand). CITYstage serves predominantly African American and Latino youth and this Afro-Cuban/Latin music program will be a departure from traditional music offerings. Classes will have a more urban, street feel, providing children an opportunity to play African drums, percussion instruments, and guitars, which will encourage students to celebrate their cultural heritage and help them develop an appreciation for other people’s cultures. Like CITYstage’s dance, theater and production arts programs, this instrumental music program will be delivered through a unique model that nurtures confidence, builds self esteem, supports academic goals and instills leadership skills. With six highly trained musicians already on staff, and a successful Afro-Cuban pilot music project last summer, CITYstage is well poised to succeed in this endeavor which will be truly transformational for the youth they serve.