Meet EdwardEdward dreams of using his education and life experience to build an arts-based community where kids who feel like there’s nothing going for them can feel safe and find hope.
It’s funny, and maybe a little bit scary, how a decision made on a whim can change the trajectory of your life.
Edward had a rough childhood. As one of 11 children, it was difficult to make ends meet. Edward’s family moved from place to place as eviction notices piled up. They ended up in a shelter, living there for a month while figuring out how to recover. At this time, Edward met a kid his age who became his friend. He was a Salvationist (member of The Salvation Army) and invited Edward to church. At first, Edward’s parents resisted. They didn’t know the kid or his family; why would they allow their son to go off with him? Eventually, Edward wore them down and he went to youth night.
Over time, Edward became a regular at the corps. He learned that his friend was taking music lessons and having a great time there, so Edward decided that he would give it a try. While he didn’t know it at the time, this spur of the moment decision changed his future.
Edward began percussion lessons, starting with the snare drum. He had a talent for music and began to develop his skills. In 2015, Edward attended Future All Stars Weekend, an event where young people can practice with members of the New York Staff Band, a well-respected brass band, and be mentored by the group. From that moment on, Edward knew what he wanted to do: to one day be a member of that band.
After the personal decision to follow Jesus, Edward officially became a soldier (member) and continued to develop his skills as part of the corps band, working toward his goal. Life wasn’t easy and there were significant challenges along the way, but Edward says, looking back, that he can see how God was working in his life, teaching him about perseverance and trust. There were many times that he wanted to give up, both in life and in music, and to take the easy road and drift where life took him, but God placed people around him who spoke into his life, encouraging him not to give up.
This perseverance paid off. Last year, Edward auditioned for the New York Staff Band and earned a place in the percussion section, now playing with the group that inspired him years ago. Edward is currently in college, working toward a degree in jazz performance. He dreams of using his education and life experience to build an arts-based community where kids who feel like there’s nothing going for them can feel safe and find hope.