Town Talk Features

Reaching Out: Melanie Barrier of Music That Reclaims

meet founder melanie barrier of creve coeur

When did you start the organization?
The end of 2015

What interested you in this particular cause?
It had been on my mind for a very long time. As a child, I was in a residential facility, and someone gifted all of the kids the chance to attend a rock concert. Afterwards, we even got to meet the band. The impact of that act of kindness was really remarkable, and it stayed with me for many years. It occurred to me that I could start an organization to give similar opportunities to others. Not having a traditional family can make foster children feel isolated. It’s a very different childhood experience, especially at school. I started Music that Reclaims so they could be a part of a community rather than apart from it. I think music really does that.

What does the nonprofit offer?
We started with providing musical experiences. We work with organizations like The Muny, The Fabulous Fox Theatre and the St. Louis Symphony, and we have a partnership with the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition to reach interested foster parents and kids. As we’ve grown, we’ve started adding opportunities for the kids to get involved with music directly. Every summer, the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition has a backpack drive, and we include a flyer for children who would like to participate in band. They reach out, and we help them procure instruments. We also help pay for other music education opportunities, like summer camps and group lessons. The final piece of what we do is music therapy. It can be such a beneficial way to help kids and teens open up about trauma. We help offset the costs so they can receive the care they need. Maryville University has been an amazing partner. It graciously allows any child in our program to use its recording studio as part of music therapy. The kids have the opportunity to record their own stories and struggles.

If you could do anything for the organization, what would it be?
It’s a very exciting time, and we’re doing a lot of things I’ve wanted to accomplish, including establishing a permanent music therapy room. It would be great to grow the organization large enough to offer music scholarships to teens who are aging out of the foster care system.

In the words of Music That Reclaims:
“Being in the foster system for 10 years herself, Melanie knows all too well the trauma these children face, and it brings her great joy to see them grow and experience happiness. She has a full-time job, so it is incredible that she has been able to create this foundation and make an impact in so many children’s lives.”

Know a standout volunteer? Nominate them to be featured at townandstyle.com/reachingoutawards or email tellus@townandstyle.com for more information.

Photo: Colin Miller of Strauss Peyton Photography

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