The ability to dream

Dream Center students come to Biola to learn music and art.


Marika Adamopoulos


Kaelyn Timmins, Writer

Two years into her music education program, senior Lindsay Reed was frustrated, feeling a lack of opportunity to use her education to help others.

“I was frustrated honestly,” Reed said. “They were training me to be the typical high school choir teacher — which was fine, it’s great education here. However, my heart . . . is to use music as a way to reach inner-city children.”


Representatives from the Dream Center’s Adopt-A-Block program contacted the Biola Conservatory of Music faculty in April 2014 with the hope of starting a music program for Dream Center students. The Dream Center, based in Los Angeles, is a volunteer-driven organization that meets the needs of over 80,000 people through a variety of programs from food banks to rehabilitation services. The music faculty immediately thought of Reed and asked her if she would start the program.

“And I thought, ‘Okay, don’t really know what I’m doing, but sure,’” Reed said.

The program has run for a year and a half. Reed sees this program as a chance for inner-city kids — who may feel trapped in a cycle of violence or abuse at home — to find a way out.

“This program is exactly what they need, in my opinion, to be able to get excited about education,” Reed said. “Education is their way out essentially and their way to really impact their community for the better.”


One Saturday a month, seven to 16 students ages 5-14 come to the Biola campus for half a day for a series of activities and workshops.

One of the volunteers, senior music education major Sierra Allen, noted the importance of holding the program on a college campus.

“Hopefully being on a college campus, [the kids] see that their lives can go in more than one direction,” Allen said, noting many of these kids are exposed to lifestyles of crime and drug abuse.

The workshops range from music to poetry to art and even science.

“Our goal here is to expose them to a lot of different things that they could do in their future,” Reed said.


On Saturday, Nov. 14, the Dream Center students were in for a treat as they got to experience a mini-concert just for them, performed by the Biola Jazz Band.

Reed prefaced the concert by addressing the students. “I want you guys to take some time to enjoy this part of God’s Creation: music.”

After the band played, the students were given the opportunity to ask the conductor questions and even play some of the instruments.

For the science lesson, the kids read Psalm 19:1, a verse about the glory of God’s creation, before watching a Planet Earth video.

Volunteer Derrick Smith, who studied biblical and theological studies, is passionate about the ministry aspect of this program.

“Sharing the Word of God at a young age is so vital, while their minds are open,” Smith said.

While the main focus of the program teaches the kids about music and art, the Biola volunteers pray with the kids and share scripture when appropriate.

One of Reed’s goals for the program is for it to be a safe place for the students.

“I want them to recognize that this is a safe place for them,” Reed said. “My ultimate goal is that they could come and just be kids and be comfortable with just expressing themselves.”


The volunteers incorporated the idea of a safe place into the art lesson. The students were instructed to draw their safe place, whether it be real or imagined. The students drew pictures of going to grandma’s house or seeking shelter under a table in an earthquake.

The day ended with some of the volunteers giving the kids music lessons.

Volunteer Katina Cardenas, a music education alumna, hopes the program will continue to grow.

“I would love to see more of Biola get involved and more kids [from the Dream Center],” Cardenas said.

Reed recently came up with a name for the program: Los Cielos Pintados.

“The name of our program is called Los Cielos Pintados, which means ‘painted skies.’ It’s inspired by a composition that I wrote when I was about 13 years old and going through a lot of difficult and traumatic events in my life,” Reed said.

The experience taught Reed to dream as an escape, and she  hopes to encourage the kids to do the same.

“I also want them to come away [from this program] being able to dream,” Reed said.

0 0 votes
Article Rating