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Kanye West’s non-profit to offer music program for Chicago youth

Kanye West

What’s the solution to helping at-risk youth in Chicago? It just might be Kanye West’s new music training program.

The rapper is helping to organize the program on the South Side of the city through Donda’s House, the nonprofit he co-founded and named after his late mother. The organization is joining forces with St. Sabina Church in Chicago to offer “Got Bars?,” a free 10-week course for young adults who want to learn how to write and record their own music, WBEZ reports.

In an interview with Jet Magazine, Donda’s House executive director Donnie Smith said that the founders chose the age range of 15- to 24- year-olds because they think the program will give young people direction.

“We want to get kids in high school, that young adult age range who are confused about where they are in life,” Smith said. “We want to give them direction… so many people have just given up on that demographic. And I would add that Dr. Donda West was passionate about the high school dropout rate. We want to be working to help with that at the younger age of that spectrum.”

Smith also told Jet that the program will include a health and wellness component.

“In order to pursue a goal in creative arts, you must be disciplined,” he said. “We have an ex-professional football player running that component. He’ll teach students how to create an individualized fitness plan and give them tips on nutrition and different types of exercise, including yoga.”

Rhymefest, a Grammy award-winning rapper and Donda’s House co-founder, will be one of the instructors leading the program sessions. Donda’s House will release an EP of songs that participants record after the completion of the course, according to Rolling Stone.

The team is hoping to eventually expand “Got Bars?” to become a national charity, and is planning to add more programs such as dance, drama and art.

Smith said that the program has received a lot of applicants already, but students can apply until Aug. 2.


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