One Small Step Ambassador Prairie Songstress Music are gathering much needed items and channeling financial donations through to the end of the holiday season for Saskatoon youth by supporting EGADZ.
Local business owner Melissa Nygren, who named her business after being described as a Prairie Songstress, has wanted to give back to her community for a long time. She connected to EGADZ through One Small Step and is asking all of her students and their families to get involved.
Melissa loves music and the guitar because both build community. She knows she can take her guitar anywhere and people will gather to listen, sitting round the fire and joining in, and that spirit of community fuels a lot of her work. She was a touring musician for about ten years before she started teaching guitar. As she taught, she discovered that she loved sharing her gift with her students and that she had a knack for teaching. More and more students joined her. She began teaching full-time, then training students she’d had for close to a decade to become teachers themselves. “It became this amazing thing of sharing our love and joy through music all together,” she says. “I have about ten teachers and Prairie Songstress Music is now in our eleventh year of operating.”
Prairie Songstress Music has a model of music lessons that focuses on the joy of music and on building confidence. They focus on what the students want to learn and how they want to learn it as opposed to a more academic and music theory route, honing in on the creative side of music. They’ve branched out to offer many different lessons: guitar, piano, voice, bass, song-writing, trombone, violin, ukulele. “I like to go with the flow, and I find that teachers approach me because they feel like they’d be a good fit for our style,” Melissa adds.
For years, Melissa has been inspired by other small business owners in our city as they ran fundraisers for local organizations, but she didn’t know which local non-profit to support. When she saw Lavish District’s posts about their fundraisers and connecting to charities through One Small Step, she was inspired to head over to One Small Step to find a charity herself.
“I found One Small Step really helpful. It’s hard to pick one organization, but we found as we read about EGADZ that their work really fit with our clients and our business. Most of our students are youth and I wanted to pick an organization that supports youth because not all youth get the same opportunities,” Melissa says. “I grew up with a single parent and my mom taught some classes at EGADZ, so it’s been on my radar for a long time,” she adds. “When I saw them on One Small Step, they really popped out to me as where I wanted to fundraise and gather items for.”
EGADZ lists winter clothing for youth as a need, and many families who take lessons with Prairie Songstress Music have kids who are growing out of their old winter gear that will be collected for EGADZ. Prairie Songstress Music has a studio where people have lessons, so they are asking families to bring stuff there and also offering to pick up at students’ homes when they go to teach. EGADZ also accepts monetary donations through Canada Helps, so Melissa also set up a fundraiser there so that families and students can donate directly online.
“Being a musician, I’ve been involved in lots of fundraisers as a performer,” Melissa says. “Community is really important to me. Seeing other people want to raise money and connect to local charities is very inspiring. There are a lot of small businesses who are doing fundraisers all the time and I wanted to join in. I felt like it was time for us to do something too. One Small Step made it easy for me.”
If you want to support Melissa’s fundraiser, do so here:
And if you want to be a One Small Step Ambassador, helping gather items or channel fundraising for local charities, reach out to us!