ELM is a multi-year, intensive full scholarship music program that is part of a larger international program called El Sistema, which started in Venezuela over 40 years ago. It is based on the belief that intensive participation in music ensembles, with high expectations for excellence, rigor and discipline has a profound impact on the development of resilience, increased self esteem and creative and critical thinking skills – all of the 21st century skills necessary for lifetime success. El Sistema is based on a philosophy of the orchestra as a model or metaphor for an ideal community and opportunity to develop good citizens – who are disciplined, generous and devoted both to the common good and pursuit of individual excellence. As such, it is much more than a music program. ELM inspires and empowers youth from the under-resourced Canal neighborhood to envision and achieve excellence in all facets of their lives through music education, performance, and participation in a music community.