Reduce stress to increase success with music!

aka A Child's Song   |   Thornton, CO   |  www.achildssong.org


A Child's Song, Inc. will provide music education and appreciation for the entire family in order to fully develop the brain on individual, group, and community levels in an atmosphere and environment that nurtures, advances, and preserves the art of creating music. Bringing families together one song at a time …

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Sandy Taylor

Main address

12301 Grant St. Unit 200

Thornton, CO 80241-3031 USA

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NTEE code info

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Current neuroscience research explains that children involved in music education have a more expanded growth of neural activity than those not exposed to music training. Clearly the process of making music increases the brain's capacity by strengthening connections between neurons. Studies show that the cerebral cortex self-organizes as students participate in various musical endeavors. The earlier children are exposed to musical concepts, the more deeply the two halves of the brain connect. A research study reported in the Journal of Research in Music Education linked music instruction with math and English proficiency. In the elementary grades, “Students in top-quality music programs scored 22% better in English and 20% better in mathematics than students in deficient music programs.” The middle school study found, “Students in top-quality instrumental programs scored 19% higher in English than students in schools without a music program.”

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Early Childhood Music & Movement Classes

Started in 2009; ongoing. (Served approximately 373 non-duplicated children in 2019.) Utilizing goals from the 2009 Colorado Academic Standards designed to prepare young children for Pre-school and Kindergarten success, ACS has developed and implemented a comprehensive music and movement curriculum for children birth-age six. This curriculum includes activities focused on language development, gross/fine motor skills, vestibular development, dance/movement exploration, and relaxation strategies. ACS instructors teach group classes that focus on parent-child interaction at the ACS Studio, group classes at local preschools, and training classes for local preschool instructors seeking to implement developmentally appropriate music/movement activities in their classrooms.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers

Started in 1999; ongoing. (Served approximately 123 non-duplicated students in 2019.) Instruction in: Piano/Keyboard, Violin/Viola, Guitar/Bass Guitar, Wind, Drums, Voice/Drama, and Dance/Art. Students attend group, private, or a combination class. Parents participate in lessons and classes. Scholarships totaling $17,206 provided to underserved youth in 2019.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Started in 2012 to fill a gap in music and arts education in K-8 schools and served 750 in 2019. Music educators from ACS currently provide after school classes at Meadow Community, an at-risk school in Thornton, CO that serves 500 students. Currently, 150 Meadow students in K-3 and 40 students in 4th-8th grade participate in music enrichment with ACS; they can check out keyboards for home use currently and beginning in January will be able to check out guitars.

While in-school classes at STEM Lab in Northglenn, CO have halted due to COVID-19 restrictions, ACS is currently working with STEM to develop virtual programming for all students and a specific virtual program for students at STEM with Autism. Prior to the pandemic STEM’s 675 students participated in music/movement programs from ACS instructors as part of the school’s core curriculum.
ACS is in discussions with STEM Launch, another Adams County K-8th grade underserved school, to provide music education programs; STEM Launch’s population is 75.5% Hispanic and 70% free/reduced lunch.

The objectives are: (1) Every student will experience exceptional music education that surpasses traditional education models; (2) The program will become a model for other schools; and (3) Every student will have the opportunity to be proficient in at least one instrument by the time they leave the school at grade eight.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

ACS’s Reach & Teach program (R&T) provides music lessons and therapeutic music opportunities for youth living in poverty, youth in foster care, and/or those with learning differences. R&T instructors are trained to help youth who have experienced trauma and those who have complex learning needs; many instructors have special education backgrounds or are certified music therapists. COVID-19 has created a void in arts instruction for at-risk youth, and after several requests for expanded music programming, ACS has created tailored virtual and in-person music experiences for a variety of community partners.

Until March 2020, ACS served low-income youth and those with developmental disabilities at these in-person locations: ACS Studio in Adams County, Meadow Community School (Meadow), STEM Lab School, and Shiloh House (Shiloh), a local nonprofit that provides foster care, therapy, and educational services for displaced youth. From June-August 2020, ACS piloted a therapeutic World Drumming Program (WDP) for foster youth at Shiloh. The program was born out of Shiloh’s staff seeing the need for healthy, therapeutic summer enrichment activities for youth in out-of-home placement during the COVID-19 summer. Shiloh leadership requested ACS expand the program to three additional Shiloh locations beginning in September 2020, for a total of 120+ youth served; the program will run through 2021 with additional Shiloh locations planned next year.

During March 2020, Meadow requested ACS partner with them to create four virtual music and movement classes for the duration of the school year; these classes were so successful that they are continuing for the 2020-2021 school year. ACS now provides a combination of virtual, hybrid, and in-person lessons for youth with learning differences at the Studio. With the expansion in virtual requests has come a need for technology enhancements and a dedicated space at the Studio for instructors to teach virtually.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities
Children and youth

Where we work


Maestro Award 2011

Kindermusik International

Founding Organization & Assessment Center 2012

Carnegie Hall Achievement Program

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Organizational objectives for 2020-2021 include:

• COVID-19 Recovery: At the beginning of the pandemic, ACS pivoted to provide virtual lessons in both individual and group scenarios. While some students are continuing online lessons with great success, in June, the organization returned to in-person lessons at the Studio. Preparing for this transition while complying with social distancing guidelines has increased costs for ACS related to cleaning requirements and purchases related to keeping students 6 feet apart. Additional instruments have been purchased to cut down on instrument sharing and ACS anticipates the need to purchase more instruments in the future when more in-person classes resume. ACS must raise additional funds for these COVID-19 related expenses which also include: technology upgrades; music equipment for students to use at home; staff training; health safeguards, and supplies.

• Online/Virtual Programs: COVID-19 has led ACS to develop new methods of connecting and teaching students. The nonprofit now teaches a variety of virtual classes for and individuals and groups. ACS developed music and movement video lessons for parents at the height of the pandemic; these classes were free and were designed to meet the developmental and psychological needs of at-risk youth and those with learning differences. The pandemic has opened ACS lessons to students in other states as parents seek safe, developmentally appropriate educational opportunities for their students virtually. The organization pivoted to hold recitals and jam sessions virtually, which has been an unexpected success. ACS is currently raising funds to develop a dedicated space at the Studio where instructors can teach virtually with all necessary technology. The nonprofit is also exploring additional course offerings surrounding music technology since the intersection of music and technology is an area of great interest for middle and high school students, and a class concept that can work well through virtual instruction.

• Evaluation Methodology Development: In conjunction with consultants from Social Venture Partners (SVP), (https://svpdenver.org/), a nonprofit linked to the Denver Foundation that provides pro-bono consulting to improve the organizational effectiveness of nonprofits, SVP consultants worked with ACS to develop comprehensive evaluation methodologies for R&T programs. A Pre – Post survey was developed to evaluate the new Shiloh World Drumming Pilot Program, the results of which will be available soon and will assist ACS as the organization moves forward with programs impacting larger numbers of foster youth.

• Sustainability/Student Retention/Underserved Outreach: Increase enrollment 25% each year for the next 5 years. 75% of students continue taking lessons from one year to the next. Continue expansion to foster/at-risk youth and Adams County’s low-income preschools and schools. Explore ability to bill insurance and Medicaid for music ther

Currently there are no music education or music therapy programs for youth in out-of-home placement or foster care in Colorado; however similar youth in other parts of the country are thriving in music programs provided by nonprofits. Play it Forward (https://www.fortheseventhgeneration.org/helping-our-foster-children-teens-enjoy-the-gift-of-music-play-it-forward/) provides instruments and connects displaced youth to instructors in Metro Detroit. Kids in a New Groove (KING) (http://kidsinanewgroove.org/) has mentored and provided over 600 foster youth in Central Texas with music experiences and lessons with incredible success. While less than half of the displaced/foster youth in Texas graduate from high school, youth in the KING program have all graduated from high school during the past 3 years of programming. Dawson Music Academy in Birmingham, AL (https://dawsonmusicacademy.org/foster/) also partners with foster care organizations and families to provide free lessons for youth, and the list continues, yet displaced, at-risk youth in Colorado have no music opportunities outside music in the school system which is why ACS has decided to expand to meet the needs of this population. The ultimate goal of ACS over the next three-five years is to develop scalable, mobile programming for foster/displaced/at-risk youth, as well as youth with learning differences, that could be used throughout CO and the US.

The ACS administrative staff and Board are proactive in strategic planning. Future plans include providing additional music classes in more local preschools, schools, and community centers, and to greatly increase collaborations within the community. ACS currently provides music classes in a Northeast Denver school that serves extremely low-income families. ACS is planning to serve more children in this category as well through additional outreach into at-risk Denver schools.

ACS is also working on succession planning as the organization’s founder and Executive Director nears retirement.

A Child's Song is a mature organization with skilled staff and leadership and sound financial management.
Our exceptional staff is highly credentialed with centuries of combined experience. We have an early childhood educator with 45+ years of experience and an MSW, so she is able to bring therapy into the musical environment.

A Child's Song has more than 20 years of experience with a great history and firm foundation. We have a committed staff and board of directors and a beautiful facility.

ACS currently tracks the college and career trajectory of students in their programs through maintaining communication with those students and their families. One recent student, a young African American male with Autism, is attending Northeastern University in Boston, MA this fall, studying engineering and music. He and his parents credit ACS music programming with helping him socially, cognitively, and emotionally. ACS plans to develop a more formal “Alumni” tracking system for all youth impacted by its programming; ACS will send follow-up surveys to program participants to learn more about how music lessons and experiences impacted their lives and whether they are still involved with music.



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Board of directors
as of 8/24/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Marc Trost

Wells Fargo Bank

Term: 2016 - 2020

Marc Trost

Wells Fargo

Toby Gallegos

GRG Consulting

Katie DePoy

Development Director at Voices for Children CASA of Boulder County

Andy Hall

Science and Technology

Michelle Reeves

Internal Medicine Hospitalist at Presbyterian/S. Luke’s Hospital

Dita Darrah

Owner David Chandler Publishing Company

Mauri Taylor

Starbucks Barista

Tiffany Teutken

Director of Marketing Communications Cordant Health Solutions

Caroline Bryce

Attorney at Sheridan Ross P.C. in Denver

Sierra Taylor

Preschool Teacher Prestige Academy

Robert O'Brien

Director of IT Infrasstructure, Cordan Health Solutions

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 08/24/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation