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Underserved Chapel Hill students receive over 100 instruments from donation

Underserved children in Chapel Hill received over 100 musical instruments this holiday season thanks to a recent donation from National Pawn, a business with 20 statewide locations. 

The instruments went to Musical Empowerment, a Carrboro-based nonprofit, on Dec. 9. The organization is dedicated to creating equitable access to music education, pairing underserved children with collegiate mentors who volunteer weekly music lessons at no cost.

Allison Flors, chief operating officer of Musical Empowerment, said National Pawn provided a variety of trumpets, saxophones, clarinets, flutes, trombones, drums, recorders and more.

"With our main campus in Chapel Hill, the youth surrounding the area will be directly impacted by the instrument donations, thus assisting in their musical education and overall work ethic,” Flors said.  

Musical Empowerment has six other North Carolina college chapters: Appalachian State University, High Point University, East Carolina University, N.C. Central University, N.C. State University and Wake Forest University.

National Pawn is a pawnbroker and jeweler headquartered in the Triangle with a history of supporting youth music programs throughout the state. This is National Pawn’s first year partnering with Musical Empowerment, but its 10th annual donation supporting music education for students across the state. 

Bob Moulton, founder of National Pawn, said the donation came as a direct result of his childhood experiences. 

“As a child, I loved music and longed to join the middle school band but was unable due to my family’s financial strains,” Moulton said. “My mom eventually found and purchased a trumpet at a yard sale, which allowed me to live out my dream. I credit my experiences in the band with helping me develop both a sense of self and sense of collaboration, which I still use even decades later.” 

Flors and Moulton said they believe music has the power to transform lives, which is why they work to ensure all North Carolina children, regardless of finances, have a chance to experience it. They agree music and learning can build a foundation of confidence, creativity and self-discipline to help children succeed as adults.

“As a business owner, I'm committed to giving back to North Carolina communities and specifically supporting music programs to help all children enjoy the gift of music and the valuable life lessons it can teach,” Moulton said. 

Mouton also recognizes the deep impact that access to instruments can have on students. 

“We know that each donation we make has the power to change lives, and we have seen this impact come to fruition so many times over the past decade,” he said. “Every year, we receive testimonies from the music students themselves about how these instruments have inspired a love of learning and sense of community with fellow musicians.”

Flors believes the donation will benefit students in the Chapel Hill community by allowing them access to musical education they otherwise would not receive. 

“At Musical Empowerment, our mission is to nurture the meaningful relationships between collegiate mentors and children in underserved communities based on a shared love of music,” Flors said. “National Pawn’s donation will have an impact on many young musicians across the state, and we are so appreciative of their choice to donate.”


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