Fresno Unified students teaching music to classmates with special needs

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno Unified students of all ability levels are uniting through sound, thanks to a new music program at the district's high schools.

United Sound isn't just any peer mentorship program, it gives teens the chance to teach music to fellow students with special needs.

"They get to choose their instrument, we teach them how to open it nicely, put it together and once they get that we start learning the music," explained Hoover High School United Sound President Christopher Rogers.

The group meets for one hour each week, to teach special education students about the ins and outs of playing an instrument.

"Whether it be an instrument or just tapping our hands to rhythm, they get excited to come every Tuesday," said Senior Valeria Zavala.

Valerie, whose brother is special needs, tells us their new pupils are teaching them too.

"Last year there was a specific moment when I was helping her learn one of the skills and she got so excited and it just made me light up because I saw that same reaction in my brother," added Valerie.

Thanks to a grant, the program was briefly introduced late last year and this year they've been able to hit the ground running.

"I've seen a lot of them coming out of their shells," said Hoover High School Function Skills Teacher Becky Adams-Anderson. "They talk so much more with their general ed peers then they do with us in our class."

The students just received their books and will get their own instruments in the coming weeks. There will be a final performance at the end of the school year.
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