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SDYS is committed to influence the expansion of access to music education across the United States.

SDYS is committed to influence the expansion of access to music education across the United States. We do this by sharing our experiences at conferences, getting coverage from national media channels, contributing to conversations about arts education and advocating for changes in arts education policy.

SDYS President and CEO Dalouge Smith is frequently invited to speak at numerous events, most notably at the Joint Commission for the Arts / State Legislator Meeting in November 2015, and sits on the board of the California Advocates and California for the Arts.

Awards and National Recognition

SDYS was named the Grand Prize Winner of BoardSource’s Prudential Leadership Awards for Exceptional Nonprofit Boards in 2012 and has since been used as a principal profile example in their Stand for Your Mission Campaign. SDYS received one of the first STEAMConnect Da Vinci Awards presented by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer in 2015.

In 2014 at the Arts Education Partnership National Forum, SDYS received recognition from the National Endowment for the Arts Chair Jane Chu in her opening remarks naming our Community Opus Project a national example. This acknowledgement came just two weeks after SDYS’ Community Opus Project was featured on the NEA Blog highlighting our story as one “not just of individual impact, but of systemic change.”

The youth symphony’s work has also been recognised in the book “Changing Lives” by Tricia Tunstall and is referenced in the book “El Sistema: Music for Social Change” by Christine Witkowski, which includes an essay written by SDYS President and CEO Dalouge Smith.

San Diego Youth Symphony