By Stephanie Baker, Volunteer Executive Director
The Mustang Outreach Program (MOP), a local 501 c.3 music education organization, is pleased to announce its doors have opened at its new location in Seagate North Shopping Center in Kill Devil Hills.
This is the first time since the non-profit formed in 2012 MOP has had its own ADA compliant space where they are able to hold lessons and practices at any time. A ribbon cutting with the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce is scheduled for Feb. 19 at 11:30 a.m.
MOP’s new headquarters required a multitude of building updates to the space in order comply with town regulations prior to being able to host students for the 2019-2020 program year.
Unforeseen costs of the renovations climbed above what had been budgeted for this small, grassroots organization. However, with a “Potty Party” fundraiser at Roadside Grill in September and a call to action via social media, MOP was successful in raising the money to cover its costs while also being able to continue to provide scholarships and pay bills.
In addition to grants and community fundraisers, MOP relies heavily on financial support from private and public donors who believe in the power of music and a good cause. Its Board of Directors is appreciative of all who contributed to ensuring its financial needs were met so the program could be able to provide its students a permanent home.
The program was co-founded in 2012 by Mike Dianna, music producer/promoter and lifetime music enthusiast, and Ruth Wyand, locally based, internationally acclaimed blues musician.
“Finding the right place has been a very long process, but it’s great to finally have a place of our own,” said Ruth, the rock on which the program was built. “The current program is growing fast with the amount of new kids in combination to the kids who have been with us over the last three to four years. It’s exciting to be able to offer music outreach to more people, kids and (hopefully soon) adults, in our area from Currituck to Hyde.”
Ruth also instructs the OBX Dare to Care Shredders, a band made up of local musicians and special needs adults, in the MOP space.
“I am grateful for the work of our whole team: our E.D. and the Board, our instructors and the parents, who pulled together to organize fundraising efforts to help build our new, full-time, permanent home,” said Mike when asked what he’s grateful for this season of giving. “It’s exciting to plan for growth in the future. In five years or so we’d like see the number of students grow so much that we’ll need to add additional staff and studio space for rehearsals and lessons.”
The program currently has two paid music instructors: Ruth Wyand and Amanda Williams. The Executive Director position (created in 2017) is an unpaid, volunteer position at this time.
“It’s been my pleasure to help put systems in place to ensure we are providing quality programming and seeing financial growth,” says Stephanie Baker (volunteer E.D.) “We are excited to be in the position we are in today: having our own space without any constraints on our schedule; providing lessons to 33 kids ages 8 through 16, and poised for growth with year ‘round programming.’”
Since the fall of 2017, MOP has provided group lessons to 88 children overall and provided scholarships to 19 of them.
MOP bands perform at a wide array of community events at no charge as a way of “Playing it Forward,” although they gladly accept donations to the organization for their performances.
Since spring of 2017, MOP students have played music at 23 community events. Nineteen kids have been awarded scholarships between the 2018/19 program year through present.
Additional information regarding the Mustang Outreach Program can be found on its Facebook page and on the website www.mustangoutreachprogramobx.org.
This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.