“A Piece from the Heart”: Inspiring Youth to Find Their Musical PassionChildren who study a musical instrument are more likely to excel in all of their studies, work better in teams, have enhanced critical thinking skills, stay in school, and pursue further education. However, in the U.S., 1.3 million elementary school students do not have access to music classes and over 750,000 middle school students are limited in terms of music programs in their schools. Even existing programs are constantly in danger of being cut from shrinking school budgets even though they are shown to improve academics. My platform is two-fold. First, it allows underprivileged children who cannot afford music lessons the opportunity to learn an instrument of their choice, find their musical passion, and thrive. Secondly, it gives them the opportunity to give back to their communities by providing the sound of music to other kids battling illnesses, struggling in school, or just want an artistic hobby or outlet. It is my belief that children are inspired by other children. When I was six-years-old, I took up violin while my parents were deployed in Iraq and I was living with my grandparents. When I moved to Korea at the age of seven, I learned to play piano very quickly. I soon entered my first competition in South Korea and won the championship. It was then that the kids at my school and in my community started to ask questions about the competition and music in general in the hopes that I would teach them! I knew then that my mission was to spread the power of music to our future leaders, our children.Restoring music programs in public schools is vital and it is my plan to raise awareness about the importance of music as part of each child’s complete education. In coordination with my own teaching, I intend to speak with New York State legislators and school district leaders to identify schools in need of music classes or funding and brainstorm how we can improve this for our youth and bring about change.