“A very good morning to all of you! I am Lennar Acosta, member of the Caracas Youth Orchestra and a teacher of clarinets. My purpose of holding this press conference is to tell you how I turned my life around.
Before my life was turned around by ‘El Maestro Jose Antonio Abreu, I was a very horrid teenager, worse than usual teens! I had been arrested at least nine times for drug abuse and robberies; I also got into a great deal of fights. You can see these scars on my face. I was living a very hard life and was in some extremely tough situations. If I could go back in time and make amends, I would certainly change my past.
However, there was a good thing that came out of all this. A year into my youth sentence, I met El Maestro who taught me about music and this was the first step into my new life.
Jose Antonio Abreu taught me more than music. He restored hope in me, trusted me when no one did and believed in me. When people were afraid of me, he was the one who understood me and allowed me to open up.
The music that was taught to me really changed my life-literally! I memorized many orchestras and I also cut off ties with my previous criminal gang. Since I had come from a humble family, music was a new and interesting thing for me. it brought me happiness, comfort and fueled me with passion to do good.
This music program has achieved a great deal for all of us here in Venezuela. There are nearly 400,000 children who have passed through this program and their future has become brighter.
There were a great deal of people who were criminals before but through this program they have become teachers of various instruments or are now studying in very good schools to further improve their lifestyle.
Another great thing is that this program motivated other areas, such as Latin America, to start programs to support the poor. This has also led to many children joining foreign orchestras and earning a good name for themselves and their countries.
I would like to thank you all for listening and would end with a saying of El Maestro: ‘Music makes us all better human beings!’ Thank you!”