Gospel for Teens

In 2006, legendary writer and producer Vy Higginsen and gospel legend Dr. Emily "Cissy" Houston, joined forces to teach aspiring teenagers about the importance of gospel music as an art form.

Gospel for Teens is an award winning program of The Mama Foundation for the Arts and Vy Higginsen's School of Gospel, Jazz and R&B Arts. It has grown to be a highly respected and influential source of education and self-development for youth.


Under the direction of Ahmaya Knoelle Higginson and the Foundation's seasoned music masters, the Gospel for Teens Choirs have performed at prestigious venues and special events across America including the Congressional Black Caucus, The Stellar Awards, Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network Convention, New York Fashion Week, Yankee Stadium, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Lincoln Center.

Scholarship Classes

Each semester, between 50 and 75 participants are selected through an audition process to learn music history and vocal techniques in classes held at the Foundation's renovated Harlem brownstone. Students are encouraged to discover their personal artistic talent and expressions while building self-confidence on and off stage. 

Public Service

The Gospel for Teens Program was created to pass the music from this generation to the next. The members serve as ambassadors of gospel music, uniting people of every race, nationality, religious, or spiritual background with a universal message that we are more alike than we are different. 

2017 Funders:

Council Member Inez Dickens, ELMA Music Foundation, Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NYS Council for the Arts, Pinkerton Foundation, West Harlem Development Corporation, Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute.

Thank you to our supporters for helping keep our arts education programming free for all teens!