The opportunity to build confidence and new skills, and know someone believes in you and is invested in your success are priceless gifts each child should receive. Jennifer Crews, Founder and President of Mesa-based Desert Sounds, gives those gifts each year for 500 local children. Each month, Cadence at Gateway recognizes Arizona leaders working to improve the East Valley region in the business, education, government, non-profit and our faith based community. This month, we are proud to recognize Desert Sounds President and Founder Jennifer Crews as our East Valley Community Champion.  Desert Sounds is a Mesa-based non-profit committed to changing the lives of Arizona children through the gift of music. There is a great need in Arizona for students who want to play an instrument, but can’t afford the instrument or lessons. Jennifer and her team of dedicated volunteers at Desert Sounds work to fill that need and build up opportunities and confidence for more than 500 local underserved youth by loaning band and orchestra instruments, as well as offering free classes, performance ensembles, and musical mentoring each year. Jennifer founded the non-profit in 2008, when she saw a need for children who wanted to be part of their school band or orchestra, but couldn’t afford to rent or buy an instrument. Desert Sounds continues to grow, thanks to the contributions and efforts of community volunteers and organizations. In addition to providing instruments and mentorship, the Mariachi Sones del Desierto program through Desert Sounds provides children in grades K-12 an opportunity to participate in a cultural-musical exchange in a fun and supportive environment as they learn to play and appreciate traditional mariachi music. The students have performed at the Musical Instrument Museum, the Phoenix Zoo, the Desert Botanical Gardens, Mesa Arts Center, Tempe Center for the Arts and many other locations and events. Jennifer dedicates countless hours of service and leadership for the East Valley non-profit and is changing children’s lives one instrument at a time. Thank you Jennifer Crews for being a Cadence Community Champion as you change children’s lives across the East Valley through the gift of music. To learn more about Jennifer Crews and Desert Sounds visit Know an individual or organization improving life in Mesa, Gilbert, Apache Junction, Chandler or Queen Creek? Send your Cadence Community Champion nominations to Photo credit Desert Sounds.