Project Change eyeing music center
July 23, 2003
Terri Hogan
Staff Writer




Will explore idea

at annual retreat

Project Change members are exploring the possibility of establishing a music center that the entire community could enjoy.

The group, a collaboration of Olney-area teens and adults committed to providing positive opportunities for area youth, will discuss the proposal at its annual retreat this Saturday at the Smith Environmental Education Center, 5110 Meadowside Lane in Rockville, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"County Councilman Mike Knapp suggested that the community might welcome a center that meets the needs of multiple groups," said Ellen Lent, Project Change adult co-president. "We are pondering the idea of a music center that would house music-related businesses and activities such as rehearsal and performance space, recording equipment, music instruction, instrument rental and a CD exchange."

Lent believes such a facility would benefit the community.

"Adults and youth currently must leave Olney for these services, which exposes our youth to greater driving distances, and can also mean loss of revenue for local business owners," she said.

Founded in 1998 by area teens and supportive adults, Project Change has been referred to as the "the voice of youth in Olney."

The group has sponsored events such as live band performances at Longwood Community Center, "finals frenzy" study sessions at the Olney Library, an improvisation group at the Olney Theatre Center, and a mystery dinner at Truffles Café.

The group has participated in the Olney Days Parade and sponsored a "Why the HATE?" day at Sherwood High School last spring to improve relationships among the diverse student body.

"Project Change is a great opportunity for teens to meet and have fun as well as become active in their community," said youth co-president Amanda Partington, a Sherwood High School senior who first became involved with the group at the 2001 retreat. "Students can also earn service hours for their participation."

Project Change is open to public and private high school students in the greater Olney area and their parents or guardians.

Those interested in becoming involved are encouraged to attend Saturday's retreat. Activities will include brainstorming sessions, live music, outdoor events, and a light breakfast and lunch.

For more information on Project Change, contact Ellen Lent at 301-774-6575 or ellenl@wam.umd.edu. To make a contribution, send a check payable to Project Change, P.O. Box 146, Olney, Md. 20830.