$50,000 to Change the World

Kittens, I’m postponing Wedding Wednesday until tomorrow because I’m in the mood to Embrace Advocacy and Taking Stances.

Today, we do something I’ve never asked you to do before.  We vote.

Before you close this window or proceed to NOT vote (yes I realize that this is Totally Not The Same as me recounting the epic sobbing fit I had this weekend), hear me out.  Because I don’t plan on doing this again for a long, long, long time.

We roll.

A HUGE part of my K-12 educational experience revolved around music.  I played the Violin and the Clarinet in elementary school, the Bassoon in middle school and high school.  I had a mother who cared about those things very much and a school district that had the resources to provide above and beyond what many schools are able.

I can’t imagine a childhood without music.  It has provided a warp and weft to my life that is SO intangible and yet so very present every day.

And until today, I never really gave a second thought to the fact that school music programs provide fine arts access that some children will never have otherwise.  To be totally realistic, private music lessons are a luxury even in a good economy. With the financial situation so many Americans find themselves, their families and their communities in today, it is more important now than ever that we find ways to create access for these children.

In college, I met a girl named Megan and she was a part of the sorority down the street.  She was Billy’s orientation leader when he first came to campus, and we were on the Homecoming Court together (she was crowned Queen!).

I’m glad that we kept track of one another post-graduation because what she’s attempting to do right now really struck a chord with me.

Currently Megan is working in Greenville, Mississippi as a part of the Greenville Arts Council.  Because of her hard work over the past few months, they have an amazing shot at a $50,000 grant from Pepsi that would bring music into their schools.

In Megan’s own words…

I have some exciting news! Today my project for the Greenville Arts Council was selected as a finalist for the Pepsi Refresh Project to fund a $50,000 instrument collective for my community!

I work at the Greenville Arts Council as our Education Coordinator where I collaborate directly with our 2 area public school districts to assist with arts integration so that students can have access art at an early age. Greenville, MS is in the heart of the Mississippi Delta and is one of the highest poverty areas in the United States. I was fortunate in my public school education to have access to art and music teachers, however the students here are not as lucky – our public schools choose between an art teacher, a music teacher, a librarian or a nurse and it is not uncommon for a student to have art or music for the first time as a middle schooler.

My Pepsi Refresh Project would create an instrument collective so that the 10,000 students in our area schools can have access to REAL instruments as early as Pre-Kindergarten, allowing teachers/schools to check out instruments as needed, which could be one day or a whole year. This program will take the expense off of the schools and will allow students to access instruments for their whole educational experience here.

Here’s where I need your help – only 10 projects get funding based on voting! You can vote every day in June at http://www.refresheverything.com/greenvilleartscouncil and if you’re a Pepsi drinker, the yellow lids of plastic bottles have a code to make your vote worth 100!

Thanks for your support!

I know it’s a Royal Pain In The Ass when you have to click on the link, register for the site/sign-in via Facebook and then (and only then!) do you get to vote.  Having experienced it first hand today, I’m more than happy to report that it was exactly as miserable as I had anticipated.

But, if Megan’s grant wins, these kids get music.  For some it might just be…music.  For some of these kids?  It’s going to open up a completely new world.  A world where they’re able to make friends.  A world where they’re able to build positive relationships with adults who have a vested interest in their lives.  Or a world where they’re able to go to college on a scholarship.  And that’s something I can tolerate a minute of administrative ridiculousness for.

To take action…

  1. Log in via Facebook or Register and VOTE.  Voting is open for the entire month of June.  So vote.  Just once.  Or vote every day.  Consider it 30 chances to say yes to music in schools.
  2. Pay it forward and blog about this.  I have nothing more to offer you than some of the Good Karma I picked up Rescuing That Turtle, but if you mobilize your readers, I’ll be grateful.
  3. If you’re not a blogger or are feeling especially bold with your address book today, e-mail the contest information (http://www.refresheverything.com/greenvilleartscouncil) to your friends.

And, Band Nerds, Orch Dorks and Choir Geeks…show yourselves!  What instrument did you play back in the day?

In addition to the menagerie of instruments we managed to accumulate, Billy and I also did a brief stint in Touring Choir in Middle School.  Those embroidered white polos with our names on them?  Were flippin’ sweet.

p.s. Wedding Wednesday will return tomorrow!

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16 responses to “$50,000 to Change the World

  1. I voted, but only because you asked nicely. : ) And I’m a former band geek. I’m a former clarinet player myself.

  2. Pingback: Procrastination, Food Journaling, and Sharing: All in a Day of Non-Work « Mostly Fit Mom

  3. I just voted and my husbands pepsi came to good use, I could cast 15 power votes. I hope your friend gets funded.

  4. Vote submitted, and with any luck I’ll remember the rest of the month! As a previous flute player, I think there is value in the experience of music.

  5. Im not a band geek, but I do love music, so I will totally support this 🙂

  6. I was never in the band, but my mom had be banging away at the piano since first grade. Good luck to your friend, she has my vote!

  7. I’m not a Pepsi drinker, but I’ll pick one up so I can power vote. I registered this morning and cast my first regular vote for Megan’s initiative. What she’s doing is awesome! And that comes straight from the heart of a former French horn band geek.

  8. I played the oboe for 8 years, and was in the freaking marching band in college. I obviously voted 😉

  9. I usually don’t think about how much music affected me before middle school, but we were able to experience music at my school even in elementary. There were recorders and keyboards in elementary, trumpet in middle school, and piano was seperate but I played it all the way until the end of high school.
    I’ll be sure to vote!

  10. I work with an organization that funds arts programs in schools in Washington DC. It floors me how many schools in our country lack funding for art and music education. I hope your friend gets the money she’s looking for – and then some.

    I played the flute until 8th grade. I wanted to be a choir geek in high school, but I didn’t make the select group. Woe is me. 🙂

  11. The sax (alto and tenor). …So very long ago. The world just wouldn’t be the same without music, agreed.

  12. Voted. Like Nanabread, I don’t drink Pepsi, but I will pick one up to power vote. Music education is so important. I played the clarinet for a year before we moved, and I switched to the Dark Side of choir. My high school had a touring Show Choir, which was infinitely more fun and much cooler than it sounds.

  13. I voted…because you asked me to. And because this is a great cause! I love that you feel so strongly about something to ask us to do this because I don’t know you very well but I have a feeling you don’t like to ask people to do things for you. And I know this because I am the same way!

  14. I played piano for a little while. I often wished I could sing which started at an early age, but it never progressed further from a wish. Also, I dreamed of playing the sax but somehow I ended up getting tricked into playing the tuba for a year instead, and so ended my musical endevours.

  15. Thank you again for this super nice post and to tall your readers for their support! I’ll keep you updated on the progress toward $50k! 🙂

  16. Pingback: Mmmm. Pepsi refreshing. « Two Feet; Many more miles

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