Music Changing Lives promotes equity in outdoor spaces, celebrates 23rd anniversary

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Photos MCL: : The forthcoming urban plant and butterfly garden will enhance the city of San Bernardino with an outdoor space, where Music Changing Lives participants can learn about nature, insects and the growth process.
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Music Changing Lives is celebrating its historic 23rd anniversary on Sunday, April 18 with a milkweed planting event at the Music Changing Lives Resource Center, located at 301 W. 40th St., San Bernardino, from 9 a.m. to noon.

This planting event is part of a larger initiative that will strengthen the equity regarding outdoor spaces in the city, as a forthcoming urban plant and butterfly garden is on its way.

“Attendees will have an opportunity to plant milkweed and participate in a six-week project, where families will grow caterpillars into butterflies. They’ll feed the caterpillars, look after them, and once they turn into butterflies, release them into the garden,” said Josiah Bruny, Music Changing Lives founder and CEO.

The organization is in its first phase of the community garden, in which milkweed (a plant butterflies are attracted to) will be planted on April 18 at its 23rd anniversary celebration.

Bruny shared that with social media applications such as Tik Tok’s five- to10-second videos being consumed every day, decreasing people’s attention span, along with the notion of instant gratification…having the ability to watch plants and caterpillars grow in the garden will teach children and young adults patience and appreciation.

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“Our garden is currently in the first of three phases right now, we have 28 tree plots located along our walkway (in the garden) that’s been completed by the city of San Bernardino…so we’re currently looking for 28 individuals or businesses to sponsor a tree plot and bring it to life,” Bruny said.

Although this garden will be a first for Music Changing Lives, education, innovation and art is nothing new to this organization.

“It’s so important my team and I assist in pushing Science, Technology, Entrepreneurship, Art and Math (STEAM) in our community. Our kids are very hands-on and if you give them something fun to learn, they’ll really expand. To coincide with that, we’re trying to get them to understand the outdoor beauty and watch the garden grow,” continued Bruny.

What is noticeable to many in the city of San Bernardino is the inequity in regard to outdoor spaces.

“If you look and drive around San Bernardino, it looks to be that an estimated 60 to 70 percent of small businesses are boarded up. Our communities are debilitated…our streets are a wreck and we have significantly less parks than many of our neighboring cities. We need more gardens, hiking trails, bike trails, bike lanes and parks in the city,” Bruny said.

He also suggested that the city’s constituents have to get back to “power is in the people” by taking care of their own city and applying pressure as a group to the city’s public works department and local politicians to gain the quality of life essentials that the city deserves; while stressing that “Community gardens and outdoor spaces are important to a community…so I want to thank the owner of the property Chehab Elawar, Assemblymember Eloise Reyes, Assemblymember Jose Medina, Senator Connie Leyva, and IEHP for lending your voices and support to the garden. Thank you to all the volunteers and my team, we operate as if we’re the size of Red Cross…you guys are literally the backbone of Music Changing Lives,” said Bruny.

Those who attend the kid-friendly 23rd-anniversary milkweed planting event can expect to enjoy music by DJ Chris Bishop and live music by past and present Music Changing Lives students, including Justin Settle and Amanda Settle, Yaretzi Castro, Fangyiqing Hu. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/3mIt5Qu or call 951-992-0721.

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