Walk for Music Spotlight: Gaby Perry

How did you get involved with ZUMIX?

I’ve been involved with ZUMIX forever. My younger sister Ixchel used to come to ZUMIX, and my husband had known Madeleine, because his sister was part of the first class of students they served. 

Madeleine would always invite us to Walk for Music, and when my kids joined ZUMIX, we were more active. By 2012, I became a little bit more involved, serving on committees and later on the board. My daughter Ari took vocals and guitar at ZUMIX, and my son Cameron took guitar. They both did Sprouts classes with Laura Macias. Leo Colon, Brandon Allen, and Laura were their teachers, and they’re all still working at ZUMIX. 

I started out on the ZUMIX finance committee. Banks encourage their employees to participate in boards and things for community reinvestment, and I knew I wanted to showcase ZUMIX to the bank where I worked. Then I joined the Board, and I stepped away for a few years before COVID, but then I came back. I also referred [fellow board member] Andrew Secker – he was an employee in my office. 

What keeps you involved with ZUMIX? What do you love about it?

I definitely love the aspect of empowering youth–anything that we in the community can do to help the young people. I went to school for early childhood education, and I believe education is essential for young people. 

I have firsthand experience with the positive impact ZUMIX makes on young people. My daughter Ariana gained so much confidence and stage presence from her time here. That really helped her in high school – public speaking was very important for her. She became a student counselor at UMass, helping other students organize their school schedules and find activities to participate in. She did the fast-track undergrad program and completed her master’s degree in one year. She was able to get an internship with Ernst & Young, and she has a full-time job offer waiting for her there. 

I give ZUMIX credit–the fact that it was a part of my daughter’s education early on was important. The lessons that students learn here give them a foundation for higher education. And my sister Ixchel went on to excel, too. She’s now an entrepreneur with her own local business in East Boston. 

What do you enjoy about Walk for Music?

Everything! All the activities are amazing, but the part I love the most is seeing all the neighbors, and all the students and parents, come together. It feels like an annual reunion – we get to see everyone. I think I like that the most – it brings the neighborhood together. 

I remember that we all walked out with balloons one year, and then let them go. They matched the color of the t-shirts – I think they were blue. A few kids had balloons, and they let them go before we got on the train together.

Why do you Walk for Music?

I want to raise as much money as I can to support ZUMIX!

Gabriela “Gaby” Perry (front row, second from left above) is a ZUMIX board member and a former ZUMIX parent.