One in 14 American children has a parent who has spent time in jail or is currently behind bars. These children may experience the trauma of separation, abandonment, homelessness, and continued or deepening poverty. This often results in behavioral issues and substandard academic performance.


SWAN: Scaling Walls a Note at a Time is a support group for children affected by parental incarceration and provides free music lessons, ensemble training, performance opportunities and mentoring.

Why Music?

Research underscores the importance of music on academics as it improves focus, sharpens reasoning skills and raises IQ levels. Music relieves stress, improves emotional awareness and social skills.

Music transforms children’s lives, placing them on a course towards success.

SWAN students learn to be disciplined, to work as a team, and to develop confidence. Through ensemble training, children experience the power and joy of creating music together. They develop positive group identities and skills which help them excel in school and beyond.

Serving the community through performances enables students to experience the joy of giving and the value of caring for others. It encourages them to make positive life choices and to impact their communities for good.

How can you help? Your dollars provide our students with instruments, music lessons, performance opportunities, and mentoring

“When I play music by myself, it sounds cool but when I play with others, it sounds amazing!”

Donny, Student



Latest News

Meet Our Team: Margaret Jackson
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We’d like to introduce one of our team members, music teacher Margaret Jackson. “I play the violin, viola, piano, and sing. Violin was my first instrument and is my favorite to play. I started taking violin lessons at age 5 … Read More

Summer Youth Experience Grant Awarded!
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The Lancaster Rotary and United Way partnered to invest in our SWAN students because they believe in their ability to be leaders. We couldn’t agree more and are honored to work with students over the summer. Rotarians will have the … Read More

A Student’s Perspective – Summer 2021
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McKayla is a delightful eight-year-old that has been studying ukulele with SWAN teacher, Lauren Reyes, for several years. She’s energetic, loves to kid around, and can be lots of fun. She was enjoying her SWAN group lessons prior to the … Read More

Meet Our Team: George Yellak
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We’d like to introduce one of our team members, music teacher George Yellak. “I began taking music lessons at the age of 12 and played the snare drum in the school band. As a student music allowed me to find … Read More