Episode 34: Why is a Social Service Agency Running a Classical Music Program?

Berkshire Children & Families (BCF), a social service agency serving Western Massachusetts, believes that partnering with families is the best way to promote healthy, happy children to make strong families and better communities. Carolyn Mower Burns, President and CEO, shared how through Kids 4 Harmony, an intensive classical music program for social change, BCF uses musical excellence as a vehicle for developing whole children and whole families.

Since this conversation was recorded, Massachusetts has lost a tremendous advocate for creative youth development. Carolyn passed in the Fall of 2016. She is missed.

Carolyn Mower BurnsCarolyn Mower Burns, LICSW, was recognized as a leader and champion for community-centered programs to strengthen children and families.  Prior to her death in the Fall of 2016, Carolyn presided over Berkshire Children and Families (BCF) for 27 years forging a legacy of leadership and innovation.  BCF is one of the most comprehensive family service agencies in Western MA, providing cutting-edge programs that create lasting opportunity for children and their families in Berkshire County and the Pioneer Valley.
Carolyn served on many local and statewide boards and organizations during her career. She provided consultation to the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families on family support and community initiatives and was an architect of the Massachusetts Patch Program. She offered numerous workshops at regional and national conferences. Carolyn’s previous professional experience includes many years with the MA Department of Children and Families.

Under Carolyn’s leadership, BCF launched Kids 4 Harmony in 2011 to further the agency’s values, strategic direction, and best practice with children and families.  BCF is the first social service organization to establish an El Sistema-inspired intensive classical music program. Working together with committed families, dedicated teaching artists, invested partners, volunteers, and donors; Kids 4 Harmony changes the odds for children. These bright young musicians realize their talents through commitment, perseverance, and the support of mentors, teachers, and families. Families gain pride in their children’s accomplishments as musicians, and the entire community celebrates their success.

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