Since 2018 Successful, Inc. has provided burgeoning middle and high school students with musical instruments that they can keep as their own to play for pleasure and to pursue dreams whether academically or as professional musicians.
Successful, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit founded by Erskin Mitchell, a military veteran. It’s headquarters is in Memphis, Tennessee and serves students throughout metropolitan Memphis and the Mid-South with a panache for students in the Mississippi Delta.
Mitchell is a native of Greenwood, Mississippi, and a graduate of Alcorn State University with a BS in Industrial Technology. While there, he received a band scholarship and was an active member of the marching band. Additionally, he was a member of ROTC, serving as a U.S. Army Engineer Officer (Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant) and graduating in the top percentile of the Army’s Combat Engineer Officer Basic and Advanced courses. Afterwards, Mitchell served as an FFA Air Traffic Controller, Front Line Manager, and Safety Auditor for over 30 years. Upon retirement, he was able to pursue his dream of helping students, who had an aptitude for music, obtain their own instruments. Thus, Successful, Inc. was brought to fruition.
Through donations, public and private, Successful, Inc. has provided nearly 50 youth with trumpets, guitars, trombones, flutes, clarinets, drums, baritones, saxophones, French horns, sousaphones, and tubas along with mouthpieces, reeds, cleaning kits, music books, and other accessories. Successful, Inc. accepts monetary donations and new and gently used instruments that are ceremonially presented to students. The organization stands, in part, as tribute to his mother and the life that her sacrifice afforded him through the opportunity to practice at home and develop the discipline and mastery to secure a scholarship and the opportunities it offered.
R.J. White, the band director at Cordova High School in Memphis, says, “We are delighted that Successful, Inc. is organizing this effort to support students in our community. Every contribution makes a difference in their lives and improves their chances of getting college scholarships.”
“My mother sacrificed to purchase a Bach Stradivarius trumpet, my first new instrument, because I loved music and wanted to continue playing in the band. I soon knew that band would be my way of going to college and helping me realize my goals in life,” Mitchell recalls.
“We accept donations of instruments and funds to refurbish those instruments, making them available to deserving students who need them. We have also received some instruments in excellent condition from generous donors. Nothing makes us happier than seeing smiles on the faces of the youth and their parents after presenting them with a working musical instrument that they get to keep as their own,” Mitchell says. “That tells us all we need to know in reference to whether we are doing the right thing.”
To donate to Successful, Inc. and/or to learn more about the organization, visit www.successfulinc.org. For more information, email Erskin Mitchell at Successfulinc1@gmail.com.