Nuriel Abdenur, a sophomore in the Vocal Arts program, first began working with the USC Thornton Outreach Program this year. She currently serves as a singing instructor at several elementary schools throughout the neighborhoods of West Adams and University Park for both the Thornton Outreach and USC Thornton JazzReach programs.
Thornton Outreach is a diverse and extensive music education-oriented program that provides unique learning opportunities for children in the local community, as well as significant service-learning opportunities for Thornton students. Each year, over 50 Thornton students and over 6,000 children in the community participate in the program. JazzReach is an after-school music enrichment program that fosters the development of skills and appreciation of jazz music.
Although Abdenur had participated in similar volunteer programs as a high school student, she did not truly realize her potential as a music educator until working with Thornton Outreach. Thanks to encouragement from her instructors and peers at Thornton, she now hopes to use her skills as a singer both on the stage and in the classroom once she graduates.
“I’d always considered teaching as a means to support myself while I was pursuing a performing career,” she said. “But now, I really love it and I really see how important it is.”
Abdenur also believes that working with Thornton Outreach has the potential to impact USC students’ college experience in a positive way.
“It’s the most stressful and time-consuming part of my week, but it’s also the most rewarding,” Abdenur explained. “It’s obviously such a huge resource for all of us to gain teaching experience. But, I don’t see how anybody could not receive joy from giving that gift of music that obviously we all feel so passionate about.”
To hear more of Abdenur’s insights about the USC Thornton Outreach program, watch the audio slideshow above.
– Slideshow and text by Kat Bouza