To help keep its “OrchKids” growing over the summer, the program will hold its “Day of Giving” online crowdfunding campaign. The campaign will be held on Thursday, May 16, 2019, and will include String Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, and Full Orchestra performances by students from Booker T. Washington Middle School for the Arts, Mary Ann Winterling Elementary School and Highlandtown Elementary School.
The concert will take place at 5 p.m. in the Creative Arts Room of the Enoch Pratt Library located at 400 Cathedral St. in Baltimore.
“The Day of Giving is a day for us to do a big campaign to raise money for the
OrchKids Summer Program,” said Raquel Whiting-Gilmer, Executive Director for OrchKids. “We host a four-week music summer program at The SEED School and serve over 150 students. We supply private lessons, ensemble classes, academic tutoring, and various fun activities for the students.”
She added, “We believe summer learning is really important. Our students feel they get a good mix of fun while also keeping up with their instrumental skills. Students from the East and West side come together for the summer. They get to meet new friends, and reconnect with old ones.”
OrchKids is a year-round during and after school, music program designed to create social change and nurture promising futures for youth in Baltimore City neighborhoods. Founded in 2008, OrchKids is the cornerstone of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s community engagement efforts across the city.
In collaboration with Baltimore City Public Schools and several community partners, OrchKids provides music education, instruments, academic instruction, meals, as well as performance and mentorship opportunities at no cost to students and families.
According to OrchKids, every summer, low-income youth lose two to three months in reading while their higher-income peers make slight gains. The program also points out that low-income youth lose access to healthy meals over the summer, and that six out of every seven students who receive free-and-reduced-price lunches lose access to them when school lets out for the break.
“Students are actively engaged with a full day program from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.,” said Whiting-Gilmer. “Through this program, we are helping to avoid summer learning loss. Summer is really an important time. When kids don’t have places to go when they are out of school, that is problematic. We want them to be safe and productive.”
According to Whiting-Gilmer, program expenses includes shuttle transportation for the students, which costs $500 per-day, along with other expenses, which includes meals, field trips, academic tutoring, recess and physical activities, guest artist performances, and sending OrchKids students to prestigious summer programming opportunities across the country.
“We provide a lot of opportunities for our students,” said Whiting-Gilmer. “Students from all over the city get to experience extensive musical programs and travel to other places which include Europe. We pick them up from their school-based site, and then transport them to The SEED School.”
She added, “Every day, the program costs us a few hundred dollars. Through the Day of Giving, we want people to be a part of supporting the phenomenal journey of these students.”
The organization is also looking for both groups and individuals to volunteer in areas which include: academic tutoring, serving meals and snacks, morning greeters, and classroom support.
According to Whiting-Gilmer, the last “Day of Giving Campaign” took place in 2017, and raised over $30,000. This year’s goal is $20,000. Whiting-Gilmer is hopeful this year’s campaign will also surpass its fundraising goal.”
“We did great in 2017,” she said. “We raised over $30,000 and our goal was $10,000. This year, our goal is $20,000. Like 2017, we are hoping to surpass our fundraising goal.
Recently, OrchKids received some news that was “music to their ears”:
“We had a donor who said they would match our campaign dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000,” said Whiting-Gilmer. “That gives us a great start. The campaign is online. People can also send in gifts. People can also attend the concert and bring their contributions. We are asking everyone to join in and support this wonderful endeavor to support our summer music camp.”
To support OrchKids’ “Day of Giving” online campaign visit https://www.orchkids.org/. For more information call (410) 783-8061.