EAST PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) --An East Palo Alto nonprofit group received the ABC Be Inspired Community Grant on Friday. Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey partnered with Disney and ABC7 News to donate $20,000 to the Mural Music and Arts Project.
Founded in 2001, MMAP has helped thousands of young individuals transform their artistic ideas into reality.
"Getting better as an artist, using different tools and aspects, helping you out in your artistry. I know I've gotten better since I've been there and without MMAP, I don't know where I'll be in terms of my music," artist Bryson Washington said.
MMAP's mentors encourage communication, imagination and collaborative mindsets.
"It's a space for them to create, to be validated for their ideas and who they are, and to really learn their history and make a statement," MMAP Programs Instructor Kyle Tana said.
From East Palo Alto to San Francisco, MMAP artists have installed nearly 150 murals and produced 90 original songs.
For Harmony Moses, being a part of MMAP for four years has turned his once-shy girl into a performer.
"I wasn't really outgoing. I didn't really make friends like that and when I became a part of MMAP, it kind of brought out the other side of me," Moses said.
For some, the program is more than just music, art and mentorship - it's about family.
"My mother recently passed and the MMAP family was just, I don't want to cry, please don't make me cry on camera. The MMAP family was just there for us so much, so family, stability, community, partnership, everything that you think about. That's what they've been to me," artist Reba Phillips said.
Thanks to the ABC Be Inspired Grant, you can expect today's youth to paint a brighter future.
Click here to donate to MMAP.
Written by Justin Mendoza