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Music & Wellness in San Mateo County


This summer, Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY) hosted a music & wellness program that aimed to increase mental health supports for youth within the San Mateo County (SMC) FLY Law & Reentry Programs. This initiative enabled participating youth to utilize basic music education, through rhythm notation, guided listening/drawing, and songwriting, as a form of creative wellness. More specifically, youth within the Margaret J. Kemp Camp engaged in a 7-week, Music & Wellness: Introduction to Songwriting! program, resulting in a collaborative, original piece. Youth in other units and reentry youth also participated in this programming for 2-3 sessions. Reentry youth are able to use the new Chromebooks and headphones (provided as part of this program) to continue utilizing these music & wellness resources.

Expanding Resources within the San Mateo County (SMC) Law & Reentry Programs:

As a result of positive youth responses to this programming, the SMC Law Program now has access to Creative Wellness Booklets to pair with the “Triggers” section of the first module of the FLY Law Program curriculum. In addition, an additional “Music & Mental Well-being” activity is now provided optionally as an example of harm reduction, in the “Substance Use & Well-being” module of the FLY Law Program curriculum. In addition, the SMC Reentry Case Managers now have access to a Music & Wellness Activity Binder, consisting of 10 original activities that tie directly to the California Transformative Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Competencies, providing the program with an additional resource to cater to the diverse needs of their youth.


FLY’s music & wellness initiative resulted in raw, musical storytelling of our youths’ lives. Stories were created in both individual and collaborative settings, resulting in an amazing private collection of a 3-song, FLY Vol. 1 album. “Beautiful Struggle”, “Life Struggles”, and “Untitled”, are all testaments to the power of music as an inclusive vessel of creative, mental release for our justice-involved youth.  

Two women wearing headphones looking at a computer

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