For the last two years, headquarters Benefits Manager Sheryl Harris has helped children in the Los Angeles area express themselves without words in a creative class that teams sign language with music.

Directing about 40 kids age 3 to 13, Sheryl, an accomplished pianist and vocalist who performed under the direction of Zubin Mehta, says the point of class is to teach the kids discipline, help them tap the resources within themselves and learn to give to others. Some of the students travel hours each week to attend, and all participants must assist in making the uniforms they wear in performances, including a recent one at the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles for an audience of 2,500.

“These are at-risk kids, simply because of where they live,” says Sheryl of the mostly African-American and Hispanic participants, who challenge her not because they don’t want to be there, but because they don’t want to leave at graduation age.

In addition to her work with the sign language class, Sheryl also recently volunteered to donate care packages of shoes and school supplies to children living in the Skid Row neighborhood of Los Angeles.

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