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Alston is the founding director of the Chester Children's Chorus, which was formed in 1994 at Swarthmore College with the goal of using music as a vehicle to offer children who live in the Chester-Upland School District the opportunity to expand their intellectual and cultural horizons. While working at Swarthmore in the Music Department, Alston was inspired to create the chorus because of his own transformative experiences as a member of the Newark (N.J.) Boys Chorus.
Alston's work with the children of Chester extends far beyond the chorus. He is also the founder of The Chester Fund for Education and the Arts (TCF), a nonprofit organization in Chester with the mission to "ensure that disadvantaged children in Chester have access to superior arts and academic programming, and to demonstrate that Chester children can achieve great things with a great education." Closely allied with TCF is the Chester Charter School for the Arts, which opened its doors to 325 students in 2012 and is dedicated to improving the Chester community through high academic achievement and artistic excellence. In 2008, Dr. Alston founded the Chester Upland School of the Arts, which was the predecessor to the Chester Charter School for the Arts.