As a young child, Lyndon has already seen homelessness, abuse, and neglect. A former foster youth, Lyndon’s life was not easy before he came to his adoptive parents. The transition to Lyndon’s new life has included many obstacles, but the love of his family and his work with Kids in a New Groove have helped him learn to be a happy and healthy child. Over the last year, Lyndon has begun to find love, support, and a musical outlet for his experiences.
“We fell in love with him,” said Lyndon’s adoptive mother of the beginning of their life together “He was real quiet and he needed to come out of his shell a little bit. He needs a family structure and a home structure.”
While Lyndon was lucky to have an adoptive family that works hard to give him structure and support, this has been aided by his enrollment with Kids in a New Groove. Lyndon’s teacher, Jay Harlan, has been meeting with Lyndon every week, for 45 minutes at a time, over the last year, where they work on learning piano pieces from the Peanuts theme song to Billy Jean, one of Lyndon’s favorites. These classes are supplied to Lyndon at no cost to his family.
This relationship has not only helped provide a weekly structural element to Lyndon’s life, it has inspired Harlan as well.
“[Lyndon is] really dedicated, practices a lot,” Harlan said. “That really affects me as a teacher. It makes me really excited to come to lessons with him. He really does want to learn, he has that passion.”
Learning to play the piano has also given Lyndon a creative outlet through which to deal and cope with his past.
“I think this is where music is so special for him because he can let himself go with piano,” said Lyndon’s adoptive father. “He can just lose himself in it and it’s something that’s really valuable to him…He uses music as an avenue to get out and release some of those [feelings] and to be himself.”
Lyndon’s parents have learned that by listening to Lyndon practice what he works on with Harlan during his Kids in a New Groove piano lessons, they can connect with him and learn how he is feeling, even when he has a hard time expressing it to them verbally. They can listen to the pace, volume, and song choice while Lyndon practices and know when he is having a good day, when he is having a bad day, and when he is thinking more about his past.
Learning to play the piano has also given Lyndon a way to learn to identify himself as a child and as an artist, despite his difficult past. Lyndon’s adoptive parents have been amazed and impressed by the progress they have seen Lyndon make since he began working with Kids in a New Groove. His confidence in himself and his relationships with others has soared and he has begun playing sports and even ran for student council.
“In the past few months, I think he’s grown more, identified himself,” said Lyndon’s adoptive father. “He’s been lost in the world, now he’s coming to understand that, ‘I’m my own person, I can do this. My parents tell me I can do anything I want to do.’ And we strive for him to do that. He’s come a long way…He’s still going.”
I was amazed when I met Lyndon. He had the demeanor and maturity of a man far past his age and was one of the most polite children I have ever met. While Lyndon was in his piano lesson with Jay, his parents told me the heart wrenching story of his childhood and how they came to adopt him. Even though I have only met Lyndon on that one occasion, I have a great feeling of pride for him and what he has accomplished in his short life. Lyndon has amazing musical talent without KING he may not have come to find it. I am so glad Lyndon has been given an opportunity like this and I have no doubt that he is going to go on to do amazing things.