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My project began in April 2008, when I received a wish list of musical instruments from a principal, Mrs. Gretchen Williams at Woodmere Elementary School in Harvey, Louisiana to start a percussion based music program. This school was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina. At the time, I was in sixth grade and a member of the student council. I presented the idea of my project to the student council. Fortunately, they voted to give me $700. With an additional $200, we were able to purchase 40 percussion instruments which included a full size drum set for Woodmere Elementary school. They were extremely grateful.

In June 2008, My father and I decided to enter my idea of giving musical instruments to the children of New Orleans to Oprah Magazine’s Big Give Contest. To enter, you needed an idea which would help a great number of people. We began this project as a family, since I was a minor and could not enter this idea alone. Amazingly, we were one of five nation- wide winners and the magazine donated $5000 to this project. In addition, we got an expert to help with the project.

Nearly one year later, in April 2009, my family along with Exploring the Arts founded by Tony Bennett and his wife, Susan Benedetto, the Gibson Foundation (Music Rising), Oprah Magazine and the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation joined together to provide $100,000 of new instruments to KIPP Believe College Prep School in New Orleans. The entire donation was sparked by my gift of music project idea. My family and I were fortunate to be present at KIPP Believe College Prep school during the gift giving event. Mr. Meinig , the Principal, thanked me for coming up with the idea and he spoke about how this is an example of how one person can make a difference. During this ceremony, in addition to the $100,000 of new instruments, 24 musical instruments which I collected during the prior year were given to KIPP Believe College Prep in New Orleans. In addition, $4,000 I collected in donations were turned into $8,000 of new instruments, which were included as part of the $100,000 of new instruments donated. The music playing on this website is being performed for all of us by the students from the KIPP Believe College Prep Symphonic Band at the time of the donation ceremony in April 2009.

Instruments I collected that were either too large to ship to KIPP Believe College Prep or that were not needed were donated to two schools in New York City.

Urban Assembly High School in New York City received the following instruments I had collected – 5 guitars, acoustic equipment including a Peavy 24 Channel Mixing Board, a Peavy Boss Cabinet, Aurel Fixiter, Peavy MB 400 Power Amp, Speakers, Rock Mount Case, Cables and Accessories and a Double Tape Deck. In addition, a Story and Clark piano was donated.

Park East Elementary School received the following instruments – 1 small electric organ with stand, bench and music books. In addition, they received 2 small child size guitars, 1 stereo piano Bass Boost system, 1 Casio small size keyboard, 1 rollin piano, 1 glockenspiel, 1 chimalong and 1 musopoly game. The principal at the time of the donation was Julie Zuckerman.

On October 22, 2008, Paul Feiner, the Greenburgh Town Supervisor, presented to me a Certificate of Appreciation “for organizing a grassroots effort calling on the community to donate unwanted musical instruments and/or funds to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.”

In spring 2009, I was asked to write an article for a publication for kids, called “Kids X-Press”, about my project, in a section titled “Kids Helping Kids.”

In 2009, A Certificate in appreciation for my generous contribution to the KIPP Believe Music Department & Band Program.

June 2009, 10 violins and 1 viola were sent to the New Orleans String Project. The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation had found that the New Orleans String Project was in need of these instruments and helped put us in touch with them.

In August 2009, in order to raise money for musical instruments, I set up a table at the summer street fair in Scarsdale, NY, handed out flyers, had a raffle for a signed Jonny Damon ball , sold baseball cards and several other items to raise money to pay for repairs and shipping of the musical instruments.

September 2009: A trumpet was donated to a student in need in Westchester, NY.

In the spring 2010, A parent called from my high school and was asked if we had a clarinet to donate to a middle school student whose instrument was stolen just before a school concert. I was fortunate to give a clarinet to this student.

In May 2010, I gave a speech about my project to a group of people at The Jacob Burn’s Film Center in Pleasantville, New York just prior to a jazz program. I handed out flyers explaining the project and how to donate and gave out wrist bands.

On June 22,2010, Received a “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition in recognition of outstanding and invaluable service to the community.” It is signed by Nita M. Lowey, Member of Congress and was presented to me at my graduation from middle school.

March 2011, Received an email from a band director from Hancock Middle School in Louisiana. The school was in need of a baritone saxophone which was then sent to this school.

June 2011 – Contacted the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation to ask if there was a school in New Orleans in need of instruments. They put us in contact with Gretna Middle School . As a result, 4 clarinets, 2 flutes, 2 trombones, a baritone and a French horn were donated to this school in Louisiana.

June 2011 – The Mr. Holland’s Opus foundation put us in contact with Crocker Arts and technology where 2 violins were donated to this school. In 2011, there was an article written about the donation of instruments to Gretna Middle School in nola.com

September 2011 - An article was written about Give the gift of music project in the Scarsdale.dailyvoice.com.

October 2011 - My family and I visited New Orleans for the second time. At that time, we brought another violin and violin music and donated this to Crocker Arts & Technology during this visit. It was wonderful to see the children play their violins for us. Also during this same visit to New Orleans, we visited KIPP Believe College Prep which I had donated to in 2009. We brought music with us and gave this to the Keith Hart, an inspirational band director. We also were able to visit Gretna Middle School, which I had donated to and met the band director, Cheryl Fryer. During this visit, the children played for us as well and asked questions about my project.

November 2011 - A Pearl drum set and music was given to the Urban Assembly High School in New York City. We were fortunate to meet many of the students and the principal of this wonderful school.

June 2012 - We were told by the band director, Keith Hart at KIPP Believe College Prep that the school was in need of 2 saxophones and a trumpet. In June 2012, two additional saxophones and a trumpet were donated to KIPP believe College Prep in New Orleans.

August 2012 - A cello was donated to Crocker Arts and Technology in New Orleans.

December 2012 – We received an email, from Antonio Gardner, the Band Director at Lee High School, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana that they were in great need of instruments. 3 trumpets, 2 clarinets, 1 trombone, 1 alto saxophone, 2 flutes, one base drum, some band music and a metronome were donated to Lee High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

In February 2013, I decided I wanted to help schools that had been devastated by Hurricane Sandy. I called the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation to get the name of some schools in need.

In March 2013, I began by helping West Elementary School in Long Beach, New York. Mrs. Vanessa Krywe, the band director for West Elementary School told me that they had lost everything in their music room during Hurricane Sandy. Literally everything had been washed away. In March 2013 and April 2013, I was able to fulfill two wishlists for Mrs. Krywe of musical items to replace the ones that were lost. Many of these were resource materials as well as lessons, instruments and music. Please see donated instruments for details of items purchased for this school.

In the spring of 2013, I presented my project to The National Honor Society at my high school and they decided to have a fundraiser. In June 2013, they raised $350. I was able to fulfill another wish list for West Elementary School with this money and additional donations. In addition, an amplifier was donated.

In June 2013, I donated six electric guitars and one amplifier to Mr. Andrew Rossi, a music teacher at Long Beach High School in Long Beach, New York.  This school is located right near the water and experienced a lot of damage from Hurricane Sandy.  They were extremely grateful to get these guitars as they have a guitar program and are in great need of these instruments.

In August 2015, I donated four clarinets, two trumpets, two flutes, a violin as well as materials to care for all the instruments as well as many music CDs to Girls Prep Middle School in the Bronx, New York. I am planning to donate boxes of music to this school as well.

To date, I have collected and donated over 250 working musical instruments to children in need. Presently, I am in the process of helping several schools in Long Beach, New York that were affected by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.

To donate any working musical instrument, please e-mail me at David.Jaffin@gmail.com. If you would like to make a financial donation, please click the yellow bar below that says “Donate” and you can make a financial donation through Paypal. All money donated will go to help schools in need. Your support would be most appreciated.

Thank you.


The music is being performed by the KIPP Believe Symphonic Band at the donation ceremony in New Orleans on 4/30/09
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