By Intern: Taylor Bush
“Music can change the world because it can change people.” – Bono
Youth Invested in Music has been changing the lives of many of Pittsburgh’s youth by giving them a platform to not only express themselves, but to learn about life and realizing the power they have in intellect. Mike Dixon, the founder of Youth Invested in Music, has set out to change the future of many of Pittsburgh’s youth. “I originally started in my brother’s studio, Jamz Factory, which afforded me with the opportunity to start my own studio”, Mike stated when discussing the start of the program. Mike started the program to “use [his] passion for music to inspire and mentor.”
Today, Youth Invested in Music has relocated to Youth Places on the Northside of the city. The non-profit organization has continued to bring a brighter and more positive place for the future. “Our mission is to keep kids safe and healthy through the way of music”, Mike stated when discussing the organization’s vision. While music serves at the forefront, this organization has created an environment where local kids can learn and grow in the present and future. Mike reflected on one of the life lessons that the kids learn in the program. “We teach kids financial literacy through a simulated $1 million music contract. The kids are responsible for allocating the funds into five places: house, car, family vacation, charity and tuition.” Lessons like these allow for our youth to understand the power of the decisions that they make and also how with great power comes greater responsibilities. Mike and Youth Invested in Music has made learning cool again by bringing a different approach. By treating the youth as young adults and helping them grasp some of the realities that comes with reaching their dreams, he is empowering the youth to, as he stated, “reach out to the community and help the youth lead [the] community.”
With partnerships with reputable entities such as Youth Places, Junior Achievement and Grind Mode (an independent music distribution company), Youth Invested in Music has used an art form to educate, motivate and guide the future of our city. Mike laid out a bigger plan for the organization. When commenting on the future of the organization, Mike stated that he wanted to broaden the support and expand the resources available to the children. “[The organization] is looking for anyone who would like to volunteer and help our kids.” Youth Invested in Music is shedding a positive light and giving a voice to those who may feel voiceless. The organization is proving that music is more than art. Music is fun. Music is education. Music is liberation of the mind.