Exposure to music under the age of 5 opens up different pathways within the brain. ‘Bluebird Foundation was founded 7 years ago when we saw the need to make music and art freely accessible to all young children.’ We are talking to Bron. ‘My background is in music therapy, I trained to become a Primary School teacher and worked in small country schools before having a family. Then I worked in early intervention for children with special needs and taught preschool music to parents and their children. I saw so much joy and connection among the participants that I formed a strong sense that this should be accessible for everyone.
‘I talked to a colleague about how to make this fabulous work accessible to all and we came up with the idea to create an arts Foundation. This would enable access to all, even those that couldn’t afford it, were living with a disability or spoke a different language.
‘We had to do our homework, check out the legalities and requirements. We approached like-minded people to become part of our management committee and Bluebird Foundation became an incorporated association.
‘We are a small team but find that has its benefits. If we have an idea we can act on it quickly, we are doers. Our first project was working with young parents at Northern Bay P-12 College through their Young Parent’s Access program. We ran music and arts classes thanks to a grant from The Geelong Community Foundation. It was successful because what was being offered to the young parents was gentle, nonthreatening and fun. They kept coming back because it was a safe place to connect with their child and each other.
‘We value long term connections and relationships. The young parents’ initiative is still running 7 years later. We also have a 3 year partnership with Tate St Primary School.
‘Up until recently we’ve gained funding through grants but our long term vision is to become sustainable. We’ve developed a calendar of fundraising events and user pays programs that can help subsidise our other work. This fits in with our mission to provide music and art to the broader community. Another need was to have storage space and a premises.
‘This year we have been very fortunate to have the use of a property through a very generous corporation that would like to remain anonymous. This property has become Bluebird House.
‘From this wonderful space we offer a range of programs. Eg a song writing mentoring program called ‘Athena’s Guild’ where professional musicians work with homeless youth. Another project, in collaboration with The Fort, involves refugee youth, many of whom are Karen and Karenni, to access Art classes. It has been lovely to see one of the students drive the recruitment and coordination of this group. They’re working on an exhibition for Refugee Week in June.
‘It has been an absolute pleasure to see our dream develop and become an ongoing realisation, benefitting all within Geelong.’
Photo: Bron outside Bluebird House during their opening in March.