Rifkin states musical devices can be instruments of alter

DELMAR — Jill Rifkin is a form of Robin Hood for musical instruments.

She collects them from frequently nicely-off children who don’t use them and redistributes them to kids who can not afford to pay for them.

Rifkin was hooked, she says, by a little boy from the Caribbean.

“He didn’t talk a lot English, was desperate to participate in the violin, and his school did not have plenty of violins to give him … He was lonely,” Rifkin says in this week’s Organization podcast.

After the boy was provided a violin, he turned fantastic at it.

“Within a 12 months — bingo!” said Rifkin. He experienced close friends and was nominated for an honors orchestra.

“He turned from a really unhappy minimal boy to a fulfilled and delighted minimal boy,” she reported. “That did it for me. And I preferred desperately to assist.”

Rifkin has operate the Devices for College students Program for nine years as a member of Vanguard, which she describes as a volunteer wing of the Albany Symphony Orchestra.

She says the musical devices are also devices for modify, supplying young children “a way to categorical by themselves, to belong, to lead to this new culture.”

Rifkin has gathered and redistributed around 550 devices “and I want a thousand,” she said. “I’m extremely greedy.”

She calls on various neighborhood corporations to co-sponsor instrument drives. The initial one particular was at the Bethlehem Community Library. She experienced expected 10 devices at most.

“We were being deluged with 45 of them,” claimed Rifkin. “My living space looked like Wal-Mart the week ahead of Xmas.”

Rifkin has partnered with libraries, church buildings, synagogues, a theater group, an artwork gallery, bookstores, and even a sweater shop.

So much, she’s had just about 30 co-sponsors and extra situations are scheduled. Persons can also get in touch with her directly, at 518-439-1843 or e-mail her
if they want to donate an instrument.

All of her everyday living, Rifkin mentioned, not just with songs, she has been concerned about opportunities for other people.

“The inequities in our culture break my coronary heart,” she explained.

Rifkin grew up in Scarsdale, a rich suburb of New York Town, and states she “always cared deeply about bad people today.”

She’s also extensive cared about tunes. When she was 10, she was taken to Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore.” “I imagine my mother obtained me the document and,” she mentioned, “within a 7 days, I could sing all the tracks.”

Her passions at university had been singing and producing. Rifkin performed the guitar and claimed, “My friends and I could harmonize really perfectly so we’d all get collectively on Saturday nights and sing. My hero is Pete Seeger.”

Rifkin sang folks tracks popularized by Seeger together with his tunes of peace and protest.

“I truly began to care very considerably about folks who didn’t have all types of strengths that, frankly, I have,” she stated. “That is so unfair … and I really wished to do something about it and I did, via other elements of my everyday living.”

Rifkin has tutored elementary school young children in Arbor Hill. “If you can not examine really properly, you’ve acquired a handicap for the relaxation of your daily life,” she reported.

Rifkin herself has constantly beloved poetry. “I used to sit on my father’s lap and we examine poetry together,” she mentioned. “I’ve favored it all my lifetime. I can thank him for that.”

 Rifkin go through the Arbor Hill pupils poems by Langston Hughes about rain. “They were mesmerized simply because it was gorgeous,” she said.

And then she had them publish their possess poems. “And I cried,” stated Rifkin. “Many of them ended up certainly beautiful. And I was so proud of them.”

Rifkin, as a pupil at Skidmore College, experienced believed she would turn into a instructor but she identified she appreciated performing with people a person-on-1 and sooner or later established up a 30-year business enterprise that did just that.

But initial, she became a newspaper reporter, operating for a weekly in New York City. She favored interviewing people today, “just hearing what they experienced to say.”

She loved residing in New York City, on Roosevelt Island, with her partner and young children but moved upstate, to Bethlehem, due to the fact of her husband’s job and found new pleasures right here. In addition to Albany’s symphony orchestra, she enjoys other cultural prospects as well as the deer in her yard.

The pair have been married for 52 yrs and Rifkin claims, while they are unique — she is outgoing and he is contemplative — “we have precisely the very same morals and passions.”

Rifkin earned a master’s degree in counseling and, when it came time for her daughter and her mates to implement to college, Rifkin utilised all those expertise to uncover the appropriate matches.

She inevitably commenced a enterprise, Faculty Choices, in which, in excess of quite a few decades, she recommended additional than 460 students and personally frequented 480 schools all over the place. She states there is so a great deal much more to each individual student than their SAT scores or grades.

“What I was seeking to learn was: What can make them exclusive, what makes them content?” she reported.

Rifkin put her counseling diploma to function not just with her college student purchasers but with their parents as effectively. “You do have to be a minimal bit of a psychologist,” she explained, “to both of those encourage some of the youngsters and serene the mom and dad down.”

Rifkin shut with this suggestions: “Think about some others aside from your very own families. Volunteer perform is so excellent for people. It helps the particular person who’s performing it as significantly as the recipients.”


Three musical instrument drives are scheduled for this spring: March 12, from 9:30 a.m. to noon, at the Delmar Reformed Church, 386 Delaware Ave., Delmar April 1, from 11 a.m to 2 p.m., at the Voorheesville Community Library, 51 College St., Voorheesville and April 15, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at Straightforward Fat Food items Co-op, 100 Watervliet Ave., Albany.