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It has been an honor and a privilege, for nearly three decades, to work with Michael Bolton -  to help define his vision, and to make it a reality through The Michael Bolton Charities. 

Driven by the generosity of so many people, an incredible Board of Directors, an amazing music therapy team, a dedicated group of volunteers who have been with us throughout, and Michael’s personal commitment, we haven’t let up. 

Let me share with you a couple of the many moments of inspiration - connections that remain top of mind and deep in my heart.

It was pre-COVID, when Michael was spending time with the students in our music therapy program, talking with them about their lives, and about how music has touched them and is helping them.

Photo of Michael and StudentI vividly recall when Nathan, whose son Marquis was one of our students, was visibly moved, tears in his eyes, to thank Michael in person for having this program, and for helping him to reach his son. 

That same day, I spent a few minutes talking with another student, Miguel, and casually asked him where he lived.  He said, “you won't know, I'm on the other side of the tracks.” And then he told me where, and I told him yes, I did know, because I had grown up in New Haven only a few blocks away. 

He couldn't believe it.  That he, and I, and Michael Bolton, came from the same place, that we knew his neighborhood, and knew where he lived. He said it was the best day of his life.   Later, as we were leaving, he poked his head out of the window and put his hand up and waved good-by. I still have tears in my eyes remembering that day, and those moments.

Months later, still pre-COVID, I visited the school to which some of those students had transferred, along with our program.  One of the students spotted me walking down the hallway.  He came up to me and hugged me, and said “Thank you Miss, for keeping this program going.”  That one hug spoke volumes.  And still does.

I think of these moments, and these young people, and thousands more just like them, constantly.  That is why we are working so hard to replicate this program, to bring it to more young people in communities across the country. Your support will enable us to do that, to reach more young people with fragile souls. 

Thank you for being with us, and for staying with us, to let these children know that we have their back, and we’re with them all the way.  I look forward to providing updates in this newsletter, and sharing our progress in this very special work.

Jackie Smaga