North Park Student is a Person You Should Know

Deborah dos Santos on ABC 7 News

Deborah Wanderley dos Santos makes news for her work bringing music to Chicago's underserved children

CHICAGO, IL (May 15, 2009) – North Park University student Deborah Wanderley dos Santos was featured on Chicago's ABC 7 News in a video segment by Harry Porterfield as “a person you should know."

Dos Santos recently helped organize the weeklong Music for Peace Festival, drawing international musicians to promote music as a tool for improving the lives of underserved youth.

As part of the festival, a series of free workshops and concerts were held around the city from May 11-16. Musicians included members of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas as well as the Simon Bolivar Orchestra, the apex of Venezuela’s world-renowned El Sistema (The System) program.

Resident artists conducted workshops at the University to instruct teachers from across the city on how to use the El Sistema method. News outlets around the world have featured El Sistema for its ability to improve the lives of impoverished children through the creation of youth orchestras. More than 250,000 children and teenagers take part every year.

The festival is an initiative of the YOURS project, a youth orchestra for underprivileged children, which is the first and only El Sistema “Nucleo” in Chicago. Currently 43 students from Hibbard Elementary School, located just south of the North Park campus, participate. More than 95 percent of the students at the school are from families living below the poverty line.

Dos Santos initiated the project and is its director. The YOURS project operates under the umbrella of The People’s Music School, a free community music school located in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago.