Video: Making a Difference with drums

NBC News with Brian Williams
By Kevin Tibbles Correspondent
NBC News
updated 3/16/2007 7:36:07 PM ET 2007-03-16T23:36:07

On Chicago's tough south side, some kids march to a different drummer. Twenty-five-year-old Jamie Poindexter has a rhythm all his own, putting the "Kaotic" drum line through its paces.

"I don't want them to go through what I've been through," Poindexter says.

They can grow up fast here, where drugs and drink have a dangerous allure.

But from the second floor of the community center comes the rolling thunder of positive change.

Poindexter's love of drums started on his father's knee, something he held onto even as his own life spiraled downward and he dropped out of high school. He started Kaotic to get back on track. No sponsors, no money, just pure determination.

"A lot of people don't have control over themselves, that's why people are in jail, people are locked up, people are out there robbing and killing, ’cause they don't have [any] type of control over themselves," Poindexter says. "Drums helps you gain control over your mind."

So you want to play drums? You need good grades. You have to be polite.

"You stand up straight, and look people in the eye, just like I'm doing with you now," Poindexter says.

It's also a safe haven.

Tibbles: What would you be doing if you weren't here?
Member of Kaotic: I don't know. I'd probably be getting beat up or something.

"You have a lot of children that don't have a role model," says Betty Seymour, the mother of a drummer. "You have a lot of children that don't have fathers at home to be that role model to the hundreds of kids he's helped so far."

Poindexter went back and finished high school. Now, Kaotic is regularly asked to perform at NBA games — a little chaos, adding clarity and a sense of purpose to so many young lives.

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