CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Music and marching. Dancing and drums. Listening and learning. That's what two local organizations are creating.
Frederick Dixon is the director of Shark City Drum and Dance Corp, a community organization of volunteers that started in August 2018 to support young people drawn to the arts.
"We've actually changed people's lives and the perception of drums, and they actually decide to pursue it in college. A lot of them would've never done that," Dixon said. "It's just an outlet to get them out of here, basically."
Co-Director Orlando Edwards and Dance Coordinator Tiffany Tyson joined Shark City to empower the youth and sharpen their talents.
"There's a lot of young girls that sometimes aren't able to get into different dance teams or they're not actually getting the training that they actually need," Tyson said.
"I noticed the kids are shying away from band and shying away from the music programs," says Edwards. "And we just wanted to bring it back to the community."
But outside of the group's rehearsals and performances, many of the kids are all too familiar with violence on their streets. That's where Candace Blue comes in.
"Namel Prince Foundation is the name of our organization," Blue said.
Blue created the organization in June and named it after her son, who she lost to gun violence in October 2018.
"I wind up meeting Mr. Dixon, and Mr. Dixon told me about his program, and I said, 'Let's partner together'... Us bringing about information about gun violence... and then also, the kids that are coming to us or we identify any kids, they have an outlet to join the band," Blue said.
Together, Shark City and Namel Prince Foundation are investing in each young person- protecting them today, and preparing them for tomorrow.
"We just believe it's a good avenue for the youth... to make sure our kids are off the street and make sure our kids have an opportunity to grow up in a positive manner," said Blue.
It's just something positive for the kids, and we just brought all the area together... just to make music, basically," said Dixon.
To learn more about Namel Prince Foundation, email firstname.lastname@example.org.