The Salvation Army’s youth music program is looking to grow the program with community support in hopes to provide all student participants an equal chance to develop a love for music.

“The Salvation Army truly believes music changes kid’s lives,” Salvation Army Capt. Jason Smith who teaches the program said.

Smith has been playing music for 25 years said he has been a part of the Salvation Army his whole life. When he first joined the organization they bought his trumpet for him, and this is something he wants to see happen for the kids in his program now.

“These kids would be better off if they have their own instruments," he said, saying sometimes the kids have to share instruments.

These instruments depend on the age level said Smith. The younger students in the program use what are called boomwhackers which are plastic tubes tuned to a specific musical note. This works similar to how kids use colored hand bells to learn musical notes he said.

“Once they get into middle school they have the basics for music,” he said.

The group meets every Monday night at 5 p.m. where the students are fed dinner and then break into character building classes at 5:30 p.m. At 6:15 p.m. the beginner band practice starts which includes the students who learn with the boomwhackers. The local music program also offers a chorus program as well as a percussion and brass ensemble.

The programs are currently maxed out and are operating on limited funding, Smith said. Donations would be greatly appreciated, he said, and can be done through the Salvation Army website. Just specify the money is for the music program. Checks can also be mailed to P.O. Box 5188, at Rome, Ga. 30162.

These donations will go to more than just instruments but also help send students to Camp Grandview in Jasper every year as well as funding student pickup every week. Smith said the Salvation Army sends out a 12 passenger van and a minivan to all parts of Rome and Floyd County.

The students performed in a Christmas concert in December and will be performing an end of the school year concert for family and guests.