EDGEWATER, Colo. — Danna Orocsco, a freshman at Jefferson Junior/Senior High School in Edgewater, knows what it's like to try to learn music with few resources.
"I'm from Colombia," Danna said. "I was born and raised there, and we only learn about music theory because there's really not enough money to provide everybody with an instrument."
Jefferson and teacher Nathan Prismon don't have the money either.
"It would be impossible, not even close," Prismon said.
Yet, in Prismon's orchestra class, Danna has her own instrument to play and so do her classmates, even though Prismon said about 90% of the students who attend the school live in poverty.
"We have a lot of students who can't afford their own instruments. So, it's helped us build our own instrument library," Prismon said. "We could get instruments out to those students who can't afford them. It's really honestly life or death for us."
He is talking about Bringing Music to Life. 9NEWS partners with the nonprofit that runs a statewide musical instrument donation drive every year to help struggling schools. The drive ends March 20.
Over the years, Prismon said Jefferson has received more than 40 donated instruments like Danna's cello.
"I think it's really great that they give the opportunity for all types of students to enjoy music to get a shot at it," Danna said.
Accessibility is everything, Prismon said.
"They're not limited anymore by how much money they have or where they come from or the color of their skin. Music is a great equalizer," he said.
Ally Hernandez is a freshman who plays the viola, but she said Bringing Music to Life is allowing her to try something new.
"I have a guitar," Ally said.
The chance to play an instrument she couldn't afford in a class she never thought she could take motivates her to come to school during another tough year scarred by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It's been really stressful, and I found that I use music as a way to kind of express the way I feel," Ally said. "Yeah, it's my favorite class."
Danna said music can be therapeutic for students.
"It's just a great way to explore themselves and explore ways of coping with the things with life," Danna said.
Prismon said the arts are what his students need right now.
"They honestly are coming from unstable environments sometimes," he said. "Music can be that stable environment."
If you want to find out where you can donate a used musical instrument, click here: BringMusic.org.
Bringing Music to Life also takes financial donations that pay for the instruments to be refurbished or repaired before going to schools across Colorado.
Danna said these donations can change a student's life.
"When people don't have the opportunity, there's a lot of talent, there's a lot of potential that is wasted," she said.
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