Yakima Music en Acción (YAMA) educates and empowers young people of color from working families through musical ensembles. YAMA was created in response to an expressed need for accessible, accountable, and enriching after school programming in Yakima. Since its inception, YAMA has consistently sought to respond to this need with integrity, collaboration, and creativity. 

YAMA’s model emphasizes shared learning and collective accountability through our instruction of string instruments. We are más que una orquesta—more than an orchestra—and we aim to disrupt cycles of intergenerational poverty by using music as our vehicle to offer access to opportunities, leadership development, and community cohesion. 

YAMA is based on a model from Venezuela, El Sistema, which is rooted in the motto of ‘music for social change,’ and is Washington state’s first and longest-standing El-Sistema-inspired program. YAMA believes that young people, when engaged as the wise, creative, and knowledgeable people that they are, flourish in an entirely different way, which translates to direct positive impacts in their communities, whether in their schools, neighborhoods, or within the city at large. When invited to develop their innate leadership skills and offered the space to practice those skills in a safe and collective community, young people at YAMA come together in support of one another in a way that allows each young person to be truly witnessed and valued, while fostering a sense of belonging and purpose. 

For the months of November and December 2020, Iʻll be donating 50% of the revenue from my art shop to this inspiring organization. If youʻre not on the market for some art but would still like to support YAMA, you can donate directly through their website.