New Orleans mom builds music program in her late son's honor

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A New Orleans woman has found a way to bring triumph to despair in her child's memory.

Georgia Boswell founded a program to help capture and spread the joy she received from her son, whose life was all-too-short.

He was the light in his parent's eyes.

"The day he was born I made everyone tell me he was the prettiest baby they had ever seen," Boswell said.

Her son, Drew, was a force to be reckoned with, expressing a love for music at the age of 1.

"He loved music, he loved playing he loved his dog," Boswell said.

Tragically, Drew died at the age of 15 months, leaving his parents in a tailspin.

"We had a lovely weekend, we laid him down one night, and he didn't wake," Boswell said.

The Boswells learned that Drew died of a condition that affects 200 toddlers a year.

"Drew's death falls under 'sudden unexplained death in childhood,' a cousin to SIDS, but much more rare," Boswell said.

The Boswells moved quickly to honor his memory and spread his love for music.

"We felt so alone in the world, didn't know, and the day he died we came up with Drew's Tunes, a way to give his music to other children in his honor," Boswell said.

In a little over a year, the Drew's Tunes Foundation  has supported  music programs at eight different camps and schools, like McMillian's Academy on Claiborne Avenue.

"They gave us so many," said Fanchon McMillian, a Central City school owner. "We thank you so much, Miss Georgia. They love them."

Drew's Tunes has donated more than 500 instruments to New Orleans children - everything from trumpets and clarinets for older kids to maracas and bongos for youngsters.

"No one would want to be the mother of a child who passed away. I couldn't be a prouder mother from all the good he's inspired," Boswell said.

Teachers say the music programs go far beyond just the instruments. They say they help kids with academics, as well.

"Behavior-wise, it helps them channel their communication through music," said teacher Dorothy Lopes.

The program was recently featured in Redbook magazine, giving it nationwide exposure.

"I never thought that two million people would know about Drew, and the [Redbook article] author says in 15 years, our family inspired her more than any other story she's done," Boswell said.

And that inspiration is now playing out for budding young musicians across New Orleans. All in honor of a little boy, named Drew, taken far too soon

Drew's Tunes Foundation is hosting a "bowl-a-thin" Aug. 22 at Fulton Alley. If you want to help put music in kids' lives in Drew's honor, click here.

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