Studies have shown us that music can be an indispensable teaching tool for children, making complex ideas more accessible and enjoyable while also helping to facilitate language learning.
That’s an idea Florence Hosanna is quite familiar with, since this ORIX USA Leveraged Finance Director spends her time volunteering through her church as a music teacher with Awana.
Offered through community groups, local churches and homes, Awana is a global children’s ministry with a goal of reaching 10 million kids with the Gospel by 2020. Each week, more than 3.7 million youth take part in Awana in some 47,000 churches around the world. Sessions are broken down by age groups, and the kids sing, play games and enjoy music while learning about the Bible—and that’s where Florence’s musical background comes into play.
Having learned to play the piano at 5 years old, Florence was surrounded by music growing up: Her mother is a conductor and professional singer, and Florence has sung in various choirs over the years. These days, she also plays piano and guitar in her church’s band, so it’s easy to see why her role as an Awana music teacher comes so naturally.
“Our preschool and elementary students love learning songs taught by Florence,” says Jennifer Tang, Awana ministry director. “And it’s not just the lyrics she teaches them—there is beautiful meaning behind the words they’re singing.”
A common theme in Florence’s songs: teaching the children that they’re loved, valued and special. “The songs that I pick are filled with truths about who they are,” Florence says. “It’s so much easier to learn through music—it’s a powerful tool to communicate messages.”
And her passion seems to be contagious, since parents will often tell her how much their kids enjoy singing the songs she teaches them. “Florence is a wonderful example of a volunteer with leadership, talent and passion,” says Sherry Cheng, Awana children’s minister. “She inspires the children to serve others with their talents, and models servant leadership and dedication.”
While Florence undoubtedly leaves a mark on each child she teaches, there is one Awana student in particular that especially stands out: her 6-year-old daughter, Alathea Joy. “It’s been neat to be involved in her life this way,” Florence says. “She’s able to see her mom being involved with her activities, which means a lot to her. It helps our family relationship for our children to know that their parents are invested in them.”
Speaking of family, Florence also volunteers with Integrated Mission Center (IMC), an organization founded by her father that supports various charitable and mission work, particularly in Indonesia—a cause close to Florence’s heart since she hails from the sprawling country. Top priorities for IMC: funding the development of new schools in Indonesia’s low-income neighborhoods, while also subsidizing the education of children in these areas.
To spread the word about the inspirational work IMC is doing, the organization turns to Florence. She shares IMC’s mission and experiences that have stood out to her—such as the time she visited with some of the students supported by IMC. “It’s great to be able to see where the funds are going and the individual you’re actually supporting,” Florence says.
Being from Indonesia and having parents who are missionaries, Florence says her background has always kept her grounded and reminds her that she came from a less fortunate family but made it through school and college thanks to the generosity of others. “The same way I was blessed with the generosity of others, I want to be a blessing to others in the same way,” she says.
Should other ORIX employees want to get involved, a couple of options await: While funds are always welcome, IMC also hosts an annual trip to Indonesia for those interested in seeing firsthand the types of projects IMC supports.
While IMC and Awana play a huge role in Florence’s life, this mother of two also likes spending time with her family, including daughters Alathea Joy and 20-month-old Sophie Grace. When she gets the opportunity, Florence also likes to travel with her husband. Japan, Australia and China have all made their lineup, and Florence hopes Europe is their next stop. “I’ve never been—that’s my dream,” she says.
For now, Florence is content making an impact in her own backyard. “Giving back to the community is one way we give of ourselves, our time and our resources to a cause greater than our own selves,” she says.