MONCTON (GNB) – The provincial government is providing a grant of up to $8.2 million over the next four years to support the expansion of Sistema New Brunswick and their 10,000 Children campaign.

“Part of building a world-class education system means making sure every student has the opportunities and skills they need to be successful,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Bill Hogan. “Sistema gives students the tools needed to support their future endeavors through creativity, dedication, community awareness and self-discipline.”

Sistema New Brunswick is a free after-school music program for school-aged children that come from an economically disadvantaged background. Their mission is to inspire youth to achieve their full potential through learning and performing orchestral music three hours a day, five days a week.

The New Brunswick Youth Orchestra started Sistema 11 years ago and since then it has expanded to nine centres across the province, serving 1,100 children.

Last year, Sistema New Brunswick announced a campaign that is focused on reducing intergenerational poverty by providing instruction to 10,000 children across the province daily.

“The mission of Sistema New Brunswick is to bring about positive social change for underserved young people through music education,” said Ken MacLeod, president and CEO of the orchestra. “The results are profound. Parents and teachers report higher levels of focus and discipline among the children, improved behavior and academic performance, and greater confidence and self-esteem. Our first graduates are now in university pursuing a variety of paths – astrophysics, medical science, linguistics, social work, music and more.”

Hogan said this partnership will help the provincial government to further its commitment to building a world-class education system by providing students with the tools they need for lifelong success and providing equal opportunity for all.