The mission of Base Academy of Music (BAM) is clear –– help kids in Kansas City’s urban core reach their God-given potential, one note at a time, said Clint Velazquez.
“Music is what got me through school,” Velazquez, founder of the academy said. “I became a music teacher later in life. Working in the suburbs, living in the city, I started looking around and said, ‘Hey where do kids in my community learn?’”
Keep reading below the video.
When the social entrepreneur realized the city was void of music and art opportunities for kids in low-income areas, he immediately knew he had to do something, he recalled.
Cue the launch of BAM in 2012. The non-profit now is a member of the current LEANLAB Education cohort, which is set for its 5:30 p.m. Nov. 8 Launch[ED] Day celebration at Plexpod Westport Commons.
“[BAM] is a long term commitment — a long term relationship — where we’re coming in every week and we’re [telling kids] ‘I see you, I hear you, you matter,’” Velazquez said passionately.
Not only does BAM provide kids with fewer resources the chance to indulge in music, the program has helped students who experience behavioral issues, constructively channel their extra energy, Velazquez explained.
“[One student] was in his music class, on the drum, going in and this kindergartner comes into the room and is super distracting,” he said. “This is a kid who used to be distracted by everything else — sat him down and started having him participate in the drum lesson.”
Such a change in behavior has left teachers astounded, Velazquez added.
As the success of BAM crescendos, Velazquez has been growing within LEANLAB, a local accelerator program for early stage founders working to transform public education, explained founder Katie Boody.
“When [Velazquez is] with us on site, there’s rigorous content,” Boody said of LEANLAB’s role in BAM’s work. “He meets with relevant mentors and potential funders, we coach him through that process.”
BAM will be front and center during Thursday’s Launch[ED] Day event, which is designed to showcase the work of the cohort’s members.
Excited, Velazquez is optimistic the event will push the community wide impact of BAM even further, he said.
“We need to take this thing that [parents] want for their kids — that they find valuable and that gives them meaning and excitement, and [find more ways to] bring it to them,” he said.