In The Light, Inc. (ITL) began as a Christian contemporary band that performed at local churches and special events throughout the Western Pennsylvania area. The group members began to donate their concert proceeds to children with musical talent who did not have the resources to purchase their own instruments. After several years, the group created an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission to facilitate those donations. At first, the nonprofit funded a handful of projects including buying a professional grade trumpet which allowed a young man to pursue a degree in music and purchasing guitars for a local church camp.
In 2012, ITL’s lead singer, Sue Kantz, met Dr. John Stanko of PurposeQuest International who invited Sue on a missions trip to Kenya. During the trip’s planning process, she learned of a need for musical instruments at a local library in Nairobi that was looking to expand their programming to include the use of music as a way to encourage children and young adults in the community. Sue brought the need back to the band members, and this became the first In The Light project in Kenya. The band raised money and purchased six guitars, a sound system, microphones, a drum set, and other small percussion instruments for the library.
During her trip, Sue met Pastor Peter Kihungi who founded and oversees the library where ITL donated the instruments. Pastor Peter shared his vision to one day open an independent music school on the library’s property. Sue brought this idea back to ITL and they began work to make this prayer and vision a reality. The band held concerts and sold CDs to help fund the music school project. ITL members reached out to friends and family and also hosted their own fundraisers.
By the end of 2016, the project was fully funded! The music school was built and completed in February 2017 when the Sue Melody’s Music School officially opened its doors. The school has continued to grow and now offers onsite private and group lessons to local community members of all ages, while also traveling to provide music lessons in local schools.
After the great success of the music school and 15 years of fellowship and fun performing together, the In The Light band decided to go out on a high note and dissolved. However, some band members continued to stay involved in the nonprofit side of In The Light, still feeling called to address the bigger needs of the children in Kenya. They also felt it was time to take their passion for helping the children of God in a new direction.
During her mission trips to Kenya since 2015, Sue and many others became aware of the great needs of the approximately three million orphans in that country. Many children do not have the basic human necessities of food, clothing, and shelter, as well as access to basic education. On her trips, Sue met others with the same heart and passion for helping the Kenyan orphans, including current ITL executive board members Cheryl Bradbury and Abby Helmick. In response to this new emphasis, ITL has restructured to focus on spreading God’s love to the many children in Kenya and around the world by providing for their most basic human needs.