In Ohio, The Sun News reports that after 150 tornadoes tore through the south, killing nearly 300 people in April, 2011, Isabella “Izzey” Pirl saw an opportunity to assist those in need.
“I knew it was my time to help,” she said.
So Pirl, then a sophomore at Strongsville High School, took her passion in life – music – and used it to help others, developing a fourth-grade music education program for Tuscaloosa County Elementary School.
The project, titled “Rainbow of Music: Bringing Therapy and Hope to All,” recently earned her a Girl Scout Gold Award. To receive the award, each girl has to identify a need in the community, and meet it.
In Pirl’s case, the Tuscaloosa County Elementary School had been wiped out by the twister, and the district was struggling to resuscitate it.
“It was a pretty impoverished area to begin with,” Pirl said. “And then the tornado came, and completely devastated the area.”
The project was about helping the children in the school find a way to heal through rebuilding the school’s music education program. Pirl said she knew music was an avenue to find that healing from first-hand experience.
“There have been a lot of events in my life that, if it weren’t for music, I don’t know that I would’ve been able to get through,” she said.
A musician herself, Pirl helped organize a benefit concert in Northeast Ohio with nine local bands that raised the money for instruments, including recorders, percussion sets and an acoustic guitar. She also raised money for CDs, music theory books and classroom decorations.
“I made it easy enough so that any teacher could teach the program, whether they had a music background or not,” she said.
But her time in music will not be cut short – after she graduates high school next year, Pirl said she hopes to go to Cleveland State University or Baldwin-Wallace University to study music therapy.