"Joys of Music" Bring Multi-Generations Together and Closer

"Joys of Music" create a better community through music & a message of unity, and bring younger musicians and lonely elderly together&closer

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Additional categories (optional)

  • Education

Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

02/06/2003 May 2002

Help us stay in touch!

336-508-8758 19301 Williams Street, Omaha, NE, 68130

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

https://www.instagram.com/joygroupomaha/ https://www.oandwofomaha.com/volunteer-working-page

Date You Started Your Project Started

June, 2018

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Elders often feel left behind or forgotten. In addition, I saw a news article how elderly have some of the highest depression rates, which might doubt about the purpose of his/her life, feel lonely, and opposite to live longer & healthier lives. Younger musicians sometime are shy and have Stage Fright, and lack of passion to volunteer nor care about others. There is gap between older and younger generations (lonely elderly and shy kid/teen).

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Music cheers up the elderly and brings them the happiness and joy. Music helps building up confidence within young musicians. Joy Group "Joys of Music" is a student own group with young performers/volunteers ranging from 7 years old to high school students. And I am currently the director of it. The goal of Joy Group is to create a better Omaha community through music and a message of unity, with a focus on the elderly in the Omaha community. What we do? 1. Gift Drives for the elderly. 2. Cookies drop‐off and small gifts/trinkets delivery to elderly homes. 3. Bring Live Music and Joy/Happiness to the elderly living centers. We delivered small tokens of appreciation, like balloons during Thanksgiving or red envelopes during Chinese New Years, to senior living communities. We have also begun making cookies and sent to senior living communities to remind the elderly that we care for them even when we weren’t physically there with them. We play music through on-going performances at various senior living communities across the Omaha Metro. This project is not only get young musicians involved, but also engages with adults - their parents, it is a true family volunteering together.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

Joy Group "Joys of Music" gives me a chance to give back to the community especially those similar to the one who raised me. My grandma has always been my greatest supporter. She raised me, and then she left her home in China and came to US, without knowing a single word of English, helped me adjusting here. Because of my grandma, I have always felt indebted to the elderly in the community. I experienced the magic of Music while I volunteered playing violin with Omaha Symphony for its Christmas Celebration back to 2012. I was a shy boy, but whenever I was on stage, music made me brave. While the audience sang along with our violin music, I saw the Joys of Music shining upon the audiences. Playing with young musicians is the best ways for me to utilize my strengths, give back to the community, and encourage and inspire the next generation to care about others & the community.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

I am stepping up to make change because I knew Music is a powerful tool. And I had great experience that how Music changed people. Those seniors mentioned in this video used to be in choir, it has been long time since they sung last time. We walked into their activity room, and played live music there. "The Sound of Music" refreshed the seniors. Their passion for music was rekindled, which encouraged me continue pursuing my Joys of Music Mustang Mentorship further.

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

I had an experience in encouraging the next generation of musicians. An elementary schooler had a lot of potential of performance, but was especially shy. I was able to encourage him to do a performance, but it was in a group of five violins. Slowly as he accumulated more and more performances under his belt with plenty of encouragement and private practice sessions with me, he began doing pieces with four violins, three violins, two, and finally a solo performance. It was truly an exceptional experience learning both to help someone like him grow, and seeing him grow. Now he enjoys standing before large audience playing violin with much confidence. I had another experience how Music changed people. The seniors@one location used to be in choir, it has been long time since they sung last time. "The Sound of Music" we played rekindled the seniors' passion for music and for singing songs.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

My project is to get everyone connected through multi-generations (from younger musicians to lonely elderly). Music is powerful tool to engage everyone no matter how old he/she is. Survey feedback from the elders show how much they appreciate the music. Every interaction with a young person brings joy and connection to the elders. Comments gathered from elderly reflect that the music was enjoyable and relaxing; we are asked to return. Performance footage shows the young musicians becoming more confident as they play for the supportive audiences.This project brings different generations closer.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

The seniors were impacted in a positive way. We had feedback survey, a few direct quotes I got on the feedback were, “Joseph Zhong was very good and all have a beautiful talent.” and “I love all the music -enjoy the program very much. Please Come back!” The feedback isn’t the only sign of change in the seniors. They tended to have a more positive attitude after the performances, looked more relaxed, and went from a sober frown to a laughing smile during the course of the performance. This impacted the other performers and helped them be more excited about volunteering again and they tended to carry this positivity with them after the performance. The families of the performers were also more inclined to volunteer and contribute back to the community because they had felt and seen the happiness that came from those we had helped. About 15 kids brought live music to at least 200 seniors.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

1, To have more young musicians engaged, and encourage them volunteer more while planting seeds of caring within them. 2, To reach out more elders in community, as Elders often feel left behind or forgotten. Every interaction with a young person brings joy and connection to the elderly. 3, How to utilize Technology to expand this project across cities, states? To be more diverse by spreading cultural understanding? Yes, we brought live music during holidays (Thanksgivings or Christmas), and on the celebration of Lunar New Year or Moon Festival. 4, To build long term bound with elderly, other than live music, we could share our music recording with them while we are not there, or elderly might watch us/talk to us via livestream/webcast

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Marketing Strategy

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • No, I do not identify with an underrepresented community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Other

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

1. YSA (Youth Service America) 2. Thanks, Orphans and Widows of Omaha, for its support!!! https://www.oandwofomaha.com/volunteer-working-page 3. Thanks, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, for its mini-grant supporting us!!

Attachments (1)

Joseph Zhong T Mobile ChangeMaker 2019.pdf

Summary of my own "Joys of Music" Mustang Mentorship

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