Eight-year-old Elyannie was in tears when she showed up for her first SWAN performance. She reluctantly agreed to join her drumming group on stage after her mother offered to sit beside her. That was a courageous first step and one that her mother, Melissa, said helped her a lot. Elyannie has since performed eight more times. Her mother said, “She is not as shy as she used to be and has more courage.” Elyannie is easy to spot on stage now because of her radiant, cheerful smile and willingness to stand in front! She said, “I am happy to be on stage and feel happy after the performance.”

In addition to learning hand drums, Elyannie sings, plays the violin, and writes her own songs. She likes her violin ensemble because they play in harmony. There, she also met her best friends, Sarah, Jennifer, and Natasha. They showed her how to hold the bow and helped with violin practice.

Elyannie’s newly found courage is reflected in her songs. She wrote “Stand Tall” and said, “It’s about me standing up to everyone that doesn’t like me.” 

As Elyannie soon turns nine, she can reflect on the past year and be proud of all she has accomplished. She has become a shining star both on stage and off. And next on her list of things to do is to learn the piano!