Sierra Mitchell, 9, had never held or seen a violin before she started the violin program at Prince Joshua Avitto Community Center. Now, she practices every day when she comes home from school.
“It’s hard and tricky, but when I practice, I make a new sound,” said Sierra, one of the first students in the program. “I like playing ‘Happy Birthday.’”
A violin program is rare in East New York, where one in four residents live below the poverty line — twice the national average. The Brooklynites living at the end of the No. 3 train line struggle with one of the highest rates of violent crime in the city. The center is named in memory of a 6-year-old who was stabbed to death in the neighborhood in 2014.