When husband and wife team, Mike and Miriam Risko, owners of The Mike Risko School in Ossining, decided to launch an instrument drive before the holidays, they had no idea what to expect. Their goal was to collect used instruments, refurbish them, and find them a new home.
Within one month, they received about 50 instruments including guitars, violins, keyboards, drums and more. “People were so generous when they found out we were having an Instrument Drive. We got so many great instruments,” said Miriam Risko.
The Riskos decided to donate the instruments, once they were refurbished by the staff at Mike Risko Music School, to the Ossining Children’s Center (OCC), which provides educational child care for youth in the area.
In addition to giving the instruments to OCC, Mike Risko will be teaching guitar classes to the kids. Many of these children have never played the guitar and they will now have the opportunity to take lessons regularly and they can even borrow the instruments and take them home to practice. And if a child is interested enough, they can even keep a guitar.
The Riskos are also putting together practice videos that OCC parents and staff can use to help the kids practice and excel. The OCC is a vital resource for many families in the neighborhood, and the addition of this guitar program has parents very excited.
“We are so happy to be collaborating with the team at the OCC, and to see the smiles on the faces of the children as they learn to play guitar,” said Mike Risko. “Our goal has always been to spread a love and an appreciation for all forms of music, and we’re thrilled to be part of the effort to introduce music to these kids. We’re already seeing progress from the first week – they’re really vested in learning and excelling.”