February 17, 2023 – Songcatchers’ alumna and current youth instructor, Ariana Barrios, has been selected to receive the prestigious 2023 “Education and Literacy” Volunteer Spirit Award from Volunteer New York at their annual breakfast on May 5, 2023. Selected for her service and teaching abilities as a Songcatchers volunteer, Ariana has logged more than 500 hours in service for the organization during the last 4 years. About being chosen, Ariana said, “It is a great honor and motivation to be receiving this award from such an amazing organization like VolunteerNY. Thanks to the wonderful family and community I have at Songcatchers, my love for music and teaching only keeps growing. I’m so thankful for all the opportunities that I have been given, not only from Songcatchers but also from my music teachers inside and out of the CSDNR. I appreciate Kathleen for nominating me and I hope to continue volunteering and helping my community as I have always wanted to do.”
Songcatchers Assistant Director, Kathleen McEntee-Lawlor, who nominated Ariana for the award, said “I am so thrilled that Ariana’s devotion to Songcatchers has been recognized on the county-wide level. I have witnessed, firsthand, not only Ariana’s musical growth, but also her extraordinary commitment to the Songcatchers organization and its mission of ‘Reaching for Peace through Music’. I am so proud of the young woman and the musician she has become and know she will continue to do great things in the future.”
At the age of 3, Ariana began Songcatchers as an Early Childhood violin student. She continued learning violin, piano and xylophone in its After-School Music Program, and music composition in its Composers of the Future Program. In addition to her involvement in these programs, Ariana became a dedicated member of the Songcatchers’ Youth Choir and currently is a Counselor-in-Training at its summer Choir Camp.
In high school, Ariana returned to Songcatchers as a violin and piano instructor in the After-School Music and Early Childhood Programs, and learned teaching techniques through its Mentorship Training Program. In 2021 and 2022, Ariana also directed Songcatchers’ Early Violin Summer Program, and currently serves as Coordinator for the Early Violin Program.
Additionally, Ariana is a senior at New Rochelle High School, where she participates in the City School District of New Rochelle’s PAVE Program and serves as Concertmaster of the New Rochelle High School Symphonic Orchestra. Ariana also tutors other students at NRHS. She is planning on majoring in music education in college and becoming a music teacher in the future.