DETROIT -

About five years ago, three friends got together and decided to form a program known as STICK (Support The Inner City Kids). They are all college-educated young black men who have majored in some form of math and music. They concluded that if they could teach music to middle school and high school students in Detroit, they could also teach life skills.

Through a series of events over the past several years, Joshua McTerry, Darius Jackson and Curtis Mason have turned their dream into a reality. They visit three schools, Central High School, Fisher Upper Magnet Academy and the David Ellis Academy, each week and reach about 40 and 50 children between the ages of 10-18. The YMCA was so impressed with their work that it connected them with music classes within the after-school programs.

The program follows the "drumline concept," meaning that though students have different levels of ability, they all have some form of talent. This music class is used to teach character development. Traits like discipline, teamwork, punctuality, paying attention to details, admitting when you make a mistake and how to correct that mistake are all taught.

When frustrated students walk out on the class, they always end up coming back. But they have to apologize to the group, admit they were wrong and regain acceptance, which they do.

Parents are very supportive of this program and make sure that the students arrive on time. This unique approach to enhancing character development through music is working to better Detroit youth.