Nov 12, 2013 7:16 PM by Akeam Ashford

4 Jeunesse Organization Helps Students Develop Talents

A group of Lafayette High School students started a non-for-profit organization earlier this year after noticing they had no place to play their music.

The students started 4 Jeunesse back in February, in hopes they would build enough support from the community to play at local festivals and other venues.

Consequently, Kirkland Middleton and his friends aren't sitting behind computers or playing video games anymore.

"Now we're taking action," Middleton said. "With that action we'd like people to recognize that we do care and we do have very pure goals."

There are 55 student/musicians in the group. Seniors who aren't required to be in school during the day spend their extra time practicing at the Tipitina's musicians' cooperative in downtown Lafayette.

"This organization really has filled in all the gaps that I had in my life in order to be the best musician I can be," Middleton said.

There are also parent board members who help students develop professionally.

Jeff Fowler says 4 Jeunesse has helped his daughter, who has Asperger's, focus in school.

"A lot of musicians have a difficult time expressing themselves," says Fowler. "They have a difficult time getting together with the different kids at school, and they feel outside."

Middleton says he's happy young musicians are finally being taken seriously.

"What we did is took it upon ourselves to say, 'Screw it, we're going to make our own,'" Middleton said. "If we can't find a place, we're going to make it ourselves."

Students have organized the first Jeunesse Fest at The District on Johnston Street. The event will run from noon until 11:00 p.m. this Saturday.

The show is free, but the students are asking for donations of any size. All proceeds from the show will go to charity.



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