Stories Matter: Wellpinit School District - VH1 Save The Music Foundation


Located within the boundaries of the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington state, Wellpinit is a small rural town of approximately 2,100 people. The overall unemployment rate is 25.84% and the poverty rate is 32.7%, both more than double the national average. The community is special—and that’s why we’re working to bring music back to their classrooms.

The schools here have tremendous need. All three receive Title 1 assistance, with 80-90% of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch. In the early 1980s, funding for music education was cut. Since then, schools have getting by with a limited number of instruments, many of which are unplayable. With few options to raise funds, in 2017, the Wellpinit music teacher contacted Save The Music for help. Mr. Shawn Brehm wrote:

I believe in the power of music. Without it, I do not know what my life would have amounted to. It was my vehicle to college. It was my safe harbor and the one place in my school where I felt safe.


Save The Music partnered with our Viacom family at Paramount Networks to launch a new Stories Matter initiative, providing schools with a video production lab and a Stories Matter Summer Camp to equip students with the skills and platform to tell their own stories. Paramount piloted their Storytelling Lab at Wellpinit Middle/High School this past summer.

At the time of the summer camp, Save The Music was delivering the first Core Band Grant to Wellpinit Middle School. We traveled there to capture students unboxing their new instruments and playing them for the first time. A Paramount video crew filmed all of the excitement and interviewed the students and music teacher. We’re thrilled to share the finished product below!


In order to complete our rebuild of music education in the entire Wellpinit School District, we have to fund one more grant to the elementary school—and we need your support!

Our goal is to raise $38,000 so they can start a fifth grade band for the very first time. The funds will provide: clarinets, flutes, trumpets, trombones, alto saxophones, a full drum kit, music stands and method books; and program support including professional development, workshops and clinics.

Music has the power to bring out the full potential of kids in the Wellpinit community. Help us make it happen!