Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Other Side of Rouse

This past weekend the Oakland Mills High School arts community hosted a huge charitable event, WBAL's Concert for Kids. Every cent raised went to charity: both ticket sales and the sales of handmade crafts in the Holiday Shop. The radio personalities who read letters from needy families made it clear how important the work of the WBAL Kids Campaign is to children all over Maryland. They also made clear their gratitude to Philip Hale and everyone who makes this concert possible. I don't know how much was raised this year but I'm sure it will be substantial.

Now here's the part that wasn't mentioned.

The music department is slated to make their annual trip in April and there are fifteen students who cannot afford to attend. Just think, this school, in the heart of a not-so-affluent area, puts its heart and soul into helping others, yet not a word was spoken about the very real needs within its own membership.

I'd like to share this, from the Go Fund Me page created by my friend Ann Faust, who is an orchestra parent and a member of the OMHS Fine Arts Boosters. It is so simply and eloquently written.

As many of you know my children attend Title 1 schools, with very diverse and rich kaleidoscope of families. One of the most important things about Title 1 schools is that we have more lower-income families in our schools.

This is true in Oakland Mills High School, yet it is also true that even if we go to the games with non-matching socks, or play our music with mostly lender instruments we still manage to get our name on the top. When our musicians attend to any kind of adjudication they usually come home with superior results. Our children are bright, determined and pushing boundaries to be able to start their young lives from the best possible point.

Our parents, just like our students, are helping our school to success in every possible way, but at times like this we are falling short to support all of our students.

Today I am standing before you and asking money to allow 15 of my music students ($645.00 for each student) to be able to go to our school’s bi-annual trip to experience playing in a huge university auditorium, experience campus life, talk with current students and lecturers in Nashville, Tennessee in Spring 2016. Our Fine Arts Boosters work really hard to support as many of these students as possible, alas as Title 1 school parents, our pockets are going only so far, and these 15 students themselves have not many other way of raising this money.

Please remember; for many of these students this will be the first time in their lives where they will experience –however short it may be, and in some cases may be the only time- a university life.

Remember this can be the experience this 15 students need to make that one important contact, that will open doors for them, that may have not be possibe before.

I have written about putting the WBAL concert in the perspective of Rouse's vision for Columbia. Here is where the rubber meets the road. Children create a concert so that other children's lives may be better. A mother creates a funding page so that other parents' children may share in the benefits of a rich musical experience.

I know this time of year is a huge drain on the budget. If everyone who reads this blog donates ten dollars, for instance, that would be a big help right there. I ask that you go to the fundraising page, read the details, and consider helping out. If the greater community can step in to help the kids who donated their gifts to help others, that would be a powerful statement indeed.


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