From inception, Young Musicians Unite has been a collaborative effort between Sammy Gonzalez, one of Miami most established musicians, and young musicians that he mentors on a private basis. These teens realized how fortunate they were to have private music instruction, while at the same recognizing how the nation was experiencing severe declines in music education programs in schools. With this imbalance in music education opportunities in their minds, Mr. Gonzalez (Sammy) and these socially conscious high school students decided to start Young Musicians Unite, an organization dedicated to giving students a voice through music.
Drawing upon this goal, Sammy saw an opportunity to use his talents to enrich the lives of middle and high school students. Many of these students would never have a chance to learn how to read music, to study an instrument, to explore music appreciation, or perform in front of an audience.
In March, 2013, YMU was strengthened by a competent and dedicated Board of Directors. With a capable team in place, YMU created and began working with a small guitar class at the Young Mens Prep Academy in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood. In the 2015-2016 academic year, Miami’s Overtown Youth Center was added to the YMU program along with adding a jazz combo program at YMP and growing the guitar ensemble to 20 students. In the 2016-2017 academic year, Young Musicians Unite expanded its programming to include two new schools: Jose de Diego Middle School in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood and Booker T. Washington High School in Overtown. At Jose de Diego Middle School, YMU created an in-school and after-school Student Rock Ensemble with 30 Students; the after-school program is partnered with The Overtown Youth Center and is an open community rock program. At Booker T. Washington High School in Miami's Overtown neighborhood, YMU created a Student Guitar Ensemble with 20 Students. Along with these expansions YMU took on working with YMP's jazz band and created a drum line due to an overwhelming demand.
To date, more than 210 students have participated in Young Musicians Unite and more then 85 students are currently enrolled in programming. Our students, volunteers and peer-to-peer mentors attend various schools within Miami-Dade County, including Young Mens Prep Academy, Booker T. Washington High School, Miami Beach High School, Ransom Everglades, Krop Senior High, Jose De Diego Middle School, The Overtown Youth Center, New World School of the Arts, North Beach Elementary and Lehrman Community Day School.