“Music is the universal language of mankind” Longfellow

Music has an incredible power.  Whether the background noise in the car, the motivation for a daily jog, or the anthem to a wedding march, music has the ability to create an emotional reaction and sensational impact.  Kaylee Radzyminski, a 19-year-old from Tennessee, decided to use music in an even more inspirational way.   In a personal effort to show her gratitude to U.S. troops overseas, she began collecting CDs and DVDs to send to the armed forces.  At first it was a small endeavor and nothing more than a few mailing envelopes.  However, her thoughtfulness expanded into Tunes 4 the Troops, a nonprofit organization that has shipped more than one million CDs and DVDs overseas.

Even as a high schooler, Radzyminski wanted to make sure her efforts would continue even as she ventured to college.  As she notes, “Tunes 4 the Troops is part of the Service Learning Center here at the university, so there’s basically a staff and student workers who volunteer for community service hours that are able to work on Tunes 4 the Troops. So this way, Tunes 4 the Troops will be able to continue even once I graduate.” (Berger, 2008).


To expand her good deed, Radzyminski was featured in a CNN article on how to give for the holidays.  The publicity helped Tunes 4 the Troops reach their goal of one million CDs.  To give students further insight on how Radzyminski organized her mission, direct them to Radzyminski’s original story at http://www.tunes4thetroops.org/aboutkayleeradzyminski.htm

A passion of many, Radzyminski turned her musical interest into a mission.  She sends the message to young people that if you dream it, you can do it.  After all, every journey begins with a single step.  In this case, a single CD.  Her goal is relatable and attainable.  Every student in your classroom has at least one area of particular interest that can be used as a starting point.  Light the match in your students’ minds in how they can turn their hobbies into good deeds, from the simplest forms to the more elaborate.  Young role models present a more relatable and intriguing hero that students can understand better than those from older generations.  Have students brainstorm their hobbies and how they can use them to help others.  A renowned athlete in your class? Consider having a pick up basketball game to raise money for a local camp. A dedicated artist? Donate paintings to a local library or community center to spread the beauty.

To further Radzyminski’s mission, visit her own personal website to see what student can do with their unwanted CDs and DVDs.


How can you incorporate students’ personal hobbies into the classroom in a way that is appropriate and motivating? Do you think there is a place for a teacher’s interest in the classroom?

How can you utilize these interests to help others?


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