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

Summer with SWAN
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We are excited to kick off our “Summer with SWAN” music lessons, and we need your help. To provide a summer filled with music-making for 30 students, we are looking to raise $5,000. We will be offering virtual private lessons*, … Read More

Summer Student Spotlight
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Keanhyzia has been making great progress as she learns to play the ukulele and sing. She is proud of all the chords she is learning and “of making it all the way to the A chord.” When asked what she … Read More

Clark Foundation Invests in SWAN Students
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The Clark Associates Charitable Foundation granted funds to SWAN to continue providing music lessons to our awesome students. Summer lessons are already underway. Students are finding that they have extra practice time, and for some, it’s created a chance to learn a new … Read More

SWAN is an Educational Improvement Organization
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The Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) is a credit that can be awarded to businesses for making contributions to Educational Improvement Organizations such as SWAN, and used against Pennsylvania income tax. Businesses can donate up to $750,000 each year to … Read More