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

“I think we sounded great and can’t wait for the next performance!”

Blake, SWAN Camp Student



Latest News

D’Addario Grant Awarded to SWAN
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SWAN just received a grant from the D’Addario Foundation that will provide music lessons for our students throughout the coming months! Our students understand that their lessons are supported by the generosity of others and are showing their gratefulness by … Read More

Filming & Recording Our Virtual Benefit Concert
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On Saturday, February 20, 2021, some of Philadelphia’s finest musicians gathered at St. Mary Episcopal Church, in Ardmore, PA to record a concert that is sure to inspire and entertain!  Violinists Diana and Valerie Vuolo started the day working with John Grecia, pianist, on … Read More

Music Lessons, Prison Video Chats, & Performances Help to Hold a Family Together
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Karen learned about SWAN from a social worker at school after her husband, Alex’s incarceration. She immediately enrolled her daughters, Natasha, who was 7 at the time, and Brooklyn, who was 5.  Karen, Alex, and their children are a close … Read More

Golden Opportunities Amidst Disappointments
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Disappointments have impacted each of us during this pandemic. For our students, it started in April when they realized that their polished program for SWAN’s Spring Soiree would need to be canceled. Abruptly, their lessons stopped as schools shut down … Read More