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Tampa Bay Children’s Chorus and Boys and Girls Clubs of the Suncoast Receive Grants To Empower Local Youth Through Music Programs From Internationally Recognized Non-Profit Project Ahimsa


Prestigious grants will support everything from choral music to “RAP” for hundreds of underprivileged youth.

(SAN FRANCISCO, September 21, 2006) – Project Ahimsa, an internationally-recognized non-profit organization dedicated to the empowerment of youth through music, announced today that it has awarded $10,000 in grants to two charitable and arts organizations in Florida’s Tampa Bay area. The two grantees, The Tampa Bay Children’s Chorus, based in Tampa, and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast, of St. Petersburg, will use the grants to fund choral music and recording arts programs, respectively, for children living in underserved and underprivileged areas.

For over 17 years, the Tampa Bay Children’s Chorus (TBCC) has provided musical enrichment and learning opportunities for children in the Tampa Bay area. A not-for-profit community organization of young singers who are selected by open audition, the Chorus seeks excellence in every aspect of the children’s experience. During weekly rehearsals and performances, the children develop vocal skills and musicianship through singing and studying a diverse selection of traditional and multi-cultural music of the highest quality.

In 2003, TBCC created an outreach program in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay. Entitled “TBCC Boys and Girls Club Chorus Program,” the outreach program takes the educational experiences available through the Chorus to many local underserved or underrepresented singers in the community. These children rehearse weekly with members of the TBCC staff in preparation for various community performances. The personal attention and creative direction the children receive helps them develop confidence and discipline while working together as a cohesive group. The Chorus now serves four Boys and Girls Clubs in the Tampa area, reaching over 100 talented young students who might not otherwise benefit from the music education opportunities available through TBCC.

Ann Novero, TBCC’s Marketing and Development Director, said, “Our Boys and Girls Club Chorus Program is an integral part of our continuing community education and outreach effort. The Chorus is proud to be opening its fourth branch of the program this season, and this grant will help provide outstanding music opportunities for the participating children.”

Coincidentally, across the bay in St. Petersburg, Project Ahimsa has made a grant to another Boys and Girls Club organization - The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast – to support youth music education. The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast have created an exceptional arts and cultural center for its youth: The Royal Theater in St. Petersburg’s Midtown neighborhood. Extensively renovated and re-opened in the fall of 2004, the Royal Theater provides classes in music, dance, and the arts and offers academic tutoring. The most popular attraction at the Royal Theater is the fully equipped recording studio. Teens in the community have flocked to the studio to record rap, poetry, gospel, and jazz. The challenge has been teaching the teens to create the recordings themselves. Project Ahimsa’s grant will enable the Boys and Girls Club of the Suncoast to implement the RAP (Recording Arts Production) Program. The RAP program will allow young people the opportunity to learn recording engineering and music production from professional instructors with the goal of placing these youth in internships and professional opportunities in the music industry.

Carl Lavender, Executive Director of Boys and Girls Clubs of the Suncoast, said, “The Royal Theater is proud to welcome Project Ahimsa to the Midtown Community. The Recording Studio, which Ahimsa will fund, is the most popular service we provide. As a result of the funding many more youth will learn new skills regarding recording studio engineering.”

Boys and Girls Clubs of the Suncoast will host a press conference to formally announce Project Ahimsa’s grant on Thursday, September 21, 2006 at 5:30 pm EST. The event will be held at the Royal Theater, located at 1011 22nd Street South in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Project Ahimsa co-founder and board member Tejas Patel, a Tampa Bay area native, said, “These grants are a part of Project Ahimsa’s sustained efforts to empower youth through music in the Tampa Bay Area. We expect to see the same success as we did in our partnership programs at the Renaissance Center in Tampa and other worldwide programs.”

The grants announced today are Project Ahimsa’s second and third donations in the Tampa Bay Area. In 2005, Project Ahimsa created summer music programs at the Renaissance Center for the Arts in Tampa, Florida. Project Ahimsa is excited to continue to support innovative music education programs that empower Bay area youth.

Through its grants and instrument donations, Project Ahimsa provides music education for children in poor and under-served areas around the world, particularly in areas affected by violence. Project Ahimsa’s goal is to promote non-violence, cultural exchange and the healing power of music to improve the lives of at-risk and impoverished children. In Sanskrit, “Ahimsa” means “non-violence.”

Project Ahimsa is always seeking opportunities to make grants to youth-focused registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations and NGOs that want to add music education to their programs or need support for existing music programs. Project Ahimsa is a cultural initiative of the Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel Foundation for Global Understanding.

About Tampa Bay Children’s Chorus

The Tampa Bay Children’s Chorus is a non-profit community organization of over one hundred young singers in grades 1-12, selected by audition, who are divided into four choirs. Founded by its director, Averill Summer, in 1989, the Chorus’s mission is to provide outstanding musical enrichment and learning opportunities for children in the Tampa Bay area. The chorus has received funding from the State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, the Community Foundations of Tampa Bay and Sun City Center, and several private foundations.

To learn more, visit

About Boys and Girls Clubs of the Suncoast

Boys and Girls Clubs of the Suncoast is part of the nationwide Boys and Girls Clubs organization. Boys & Girls Clubs of America ( comprises a national network of more than 3,900 neighborhood-based facilities annually serving some 4.6 million young people, primarily from disadvantaged circumstances. Known as “The Positive Place for Kids,” the Clubs provide guidance-oriented character development programs on a daily basis for children 6-18 years old, conducted by a full-time professional staff. Key Boys & Girls Club programs emphasize character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, the arts, sports, fitness and recreation.

To learn more, visit

About Project Ahimsa

Project Ahimsa is a global effort to empower youth through music, with offices in San Francisco and Tampa, Florida. Since its inception in 2001, it has reached nearly 10,000 children around the globe through music education grants and musical instrument donations.

The organization, inspired by the teachings of non-violence and cross-cultural understanding of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., creates and supports music education programs for children around the world. Project Ahimsa is a cultural initiative of the Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel Foundation for Global Understanding (, a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

To learn more, visit


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