When Justine Chadly couldn’t find a creative arts program for her two-year-old, she decided to start one herself. Justine grew up in San Francisco, but settled in Benicia as a single mom after her son was born. She began offering Music Together classes for other local families, which channeled her passion for music into a meaningful career that supported her and her son.
Seventeen years later, In Harmony, has grown into a thriving business that employs nine teachers, offering music and movement classes in Benicia, Napa, Marin, and San Francisco. But the Coronavirus pandemic changed everything, and In Harmony’s revenues dropped by 85% when shelter-in-place orders stopped in-person classes. It’s been a slow climb back, fueled by Justine’s ingenuity and determination, along with an interest-free Covid relief loan from Hebrew Free Loan.
“Hebrew Free Loan’s support allowed us to keep our studios open and our teachers working during the pandemic. I’m grateful we can bring so much joy to our community during these dark times.”
In Harmony has pivoted to offer most of its classes online, along with a small selection of outdoor classes at local parks. Private sessions are also available to small preschool and elementary learning pods.
Although revenue is still far below normal, Justine is committed to keeping her teachers on payroll and holding on to her studios, until she can hold on-site classes again. Hebrew Free Loan’s support has been key to In Harmony’s ability to continue making payroll and rent while the new model takes hold.
Like so many organizations moving to online offerings, In Harmony has found one bright spot in the pandemic, with people tuning in from all over the world and creating community in new ways. Justine offers classes free of charge to any families who have lost their jobs due to Covid or are struggling financially. She welcomes donations to In Harmony’s scholarship fund, so more parents and children can have the opportunity to make music together, play, and just have fun.
UPDATE: MARCH 2021
Almost a year after receiving her loan, all of In Harmony’s locations are open and all of Justine’s teachers are still working. While enrollment remains lower than pre-pandemic levels, Justine feels like she’s weathered the storm. Hebrew Free Loan’s support gave her a financial cushion that allowed her business to survive and inspired her to give back even more to families in need. She’s continuing to offer scholarships and free classes to those who are struggling, and children and families alike are grateful to experience this bit of normalcy during turbulent times.