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Touching Lives

by | Apr 1, 2023

Leotha Stanley is an artist in residence who has been teaching music in local schools, including one week of summer camp at Horizons, for over 20 years. He is extremely passionate about sharing his love of different types of music and the transformative power music can have in our lives.

Leotha came to Horizons in 2000 to lead a music camp. Since Horizons was creating this program from the ground up, Leotha shared, “I didn’t know what I was going to be doing, but I mimicked some of the things I was doing in the elementary schools. That first year was quite rough, but it just took off.” 

Despite having a solid foundation of working with elementary-aged students, Leotha shared, “The first day of camp can be quite a challenge even after all these years. I try to find a commonality between the students and work with them to pull out their singing abilities. I give them an opportunity to take responsibility and overcome any difficulties they may be having. I see these kids teach, help, and encourage each other. By Friday, the transformation is just explosively evident when we perform the concert for the families.”

“Being at camp every year has taught me to be more innovative and has helped me get ideas of what I can do to keep the students’ attention, spread a message, and be more engaged in music so that it touches a part of their lives. A love of music in some way is my end goal.”  Leotha shared, “I have learned so much from the kids. There are so many kids who struggle at home but learn a lot from camp. I’ve met many parents at these concerts who have shared the change they have seen in their kids. For me, it is a chance to share with these parents the progress and potential I see in their kids.”  These experiences have given Leotha the appreciation to expand his relationships with people and music. “Knowing I can still make a difference keeps me motivated and pertinent,” Leotha said humbly.

We are so thankful that Leotha’s passion for Horizons will continue in his role on our Board of Directors. His commitment to making a difference and his dedication to developing engaged students will help guide the future of Bethel Horizons.