A project initiated by two professors at Olin College and students of Babson College has received a $7,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi. The grant came from Placed-Based Education & Civic Entrepreneurship Endowment. The fiscal agent for the project is the Carnegie Public Library Coahoma.

“Shifting Rhythms: Coahoma Mobile Education” is a project that aims to provide an inclusive space for young people in Coahoma County to exercise their creativity so they are motivated and prepared to advance their learning and careers. The mobile space will operate in two modes, the first being a twelve-week guitar-building curriculum in partnership with afterschool programs during the school week in Clarksdale, Jonestown, Friars Point, and other smaller towns in the county. The second mode will be exposing youth to various tools and skills through pop-up activities on weekends and during the summer months.

The grant assists the entrepreneurial side of the Shifting Rhythms curriculum leading to a business run by youth that will provide affordable musical instruments to music programs around the state, in the region and even nationally. In building electric guitars and diddley bows, the students gain increased confidence and comfort with hand drills, saws, hot glue guns, and other tools used in the activities. The revenue from the sale of the instruments will go to the students and to a scholarship fund to provide educational benefits to youth in the county.

The program has been developed by teams of students and faculty from Babson College, Olin College of Engineering, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology who are working in a class called Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship. This team has been engaged with Coahoma County and working with numerous local organizations over the last two years.