OverviewGenuine Voices has partnership with Break the Silence Foundation and Time Trade Circle
Genuine Voices was established as a nonprofit organization in 2002 by Juri Jones. Shortly after graduating from the Berklee School of Music, Jones was inspired by the story of juvenile offenders in Los Angeles learning journalism while serving their sentences. The participants in this program were given an opportunity to channel their emotions through creative outlets to express themselves; two of the youths later became Hollywood screenwriters. Recognizing that this concept could also be applied to music education, Jones created "Genuine Voices," a nonprofit music program intended to teach music to at-risk youth as a means of building their creativity and increasing their resilience.
Genuine Voices launched its first program at Boys and Girls Club Dorchester, MA, appointed by probation officer Bill Stewart from Dorchester District court. The small program included few assets-- just one computer, one keyboard, one speaker donation, and a couple of volunteer students from the Berklee College of Music. Although participation in the program did not guarantee instant stardom, the participants were still able to benefit tremendously from music education, and many reported that the presence of music in their lives made it easier to cope and gave them hope for the future. Over a short time, the program skyrocketed in popularity to include over 600 at-risk youths and a full recording studio.
Genuine Voices was then commissioned to do a short-term music program at the Horizon Initiative, also located in Dorchester, MA. After observing great success and popularity in both programs, Jones was confident that music education was an effective and rewarding venue for engaging youth interest.
The program finally fulfilled its original vision of working with juvenile offenders at the end of 2002 at the Metro Service Center, a transition unit for Massachusetts DYS clients. With an Alumni Endowment Grant from Berklee College of Music, Genuine Voices was able to teach computer-based sequencing to incarcerated youth at the center.
In 2003, Genuine Voices started a new program at the Brighton Treatment Center, a short term treatment facility for juvenile offenders. With the financial support of the Brighton Treatment Center and some volunteer educators, Genuine Voices was able to create another successful branch of the program.
Featured at IASPAM conference in Rome, Italy in 2005, Genuine Voices was included in an international research project conducted by researchers at South Australian University. The paper was published in Youth Journal Worldwide and Genuine Voices will be featured in the book "Playing 4 Life," to be published in 2010.
In the summer of 2006, Genuine Voices branched out to the Judge Connelly Youth Center, a maximum security lock-down facility. GV offered group sessions in this prison school system to youth, many of whom were prior gang members from the Greater Boston area. After receiving another grant, Genuine Voices expanded the program, which is now based at Eliot Short Term Treatment, a residential treatment program for committed males under the age of 21. More than half of the residents at the facility are enrolled in the music program, and the program continues to grow.