“Countless lives have been changed by the power and magic of music.” When Sue Chapla opened with these words, she didn’t yet know how much they would resonate with her audience—the Women Who Care of Kent County (“WWC”).
WWC is a group that meets quarterly to learn about and support local nonprofits. At each meeting, members nominate various nonprofits, with three then randomly selected to present to the group. Those selected are given five minutes to share the story of a program or project and describe the need for support from the WWC membership. Each member also educates the group about the broader mission and work of the nonprofit organization and proposes a project for the group’s consideration. After all three have shared their stories, the membership votes and the winning project is the beneficiary of a $100 donation from each member of the group.
In April, retired GRPS teacher and long-time SAF advocate, Sue Chapla shared a story about the burgeoning elementary strings program in the Grand Rapids Public Schools. Sue learned about this program, that aims to get violins into even the youngest students’ hands, at the SAF’s annual Foundation for the Future Luncheon. Sue was instantly moved by these novice musicians.
“When the Congress students performed at [SAF’s] lunch, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room,” said Chapla. “This group of kindergartners, who had only been playing for a few weeks, entered the stage orderly, with confidence and with visible respect for the violins. As they played, you could have heard a pin drop. They had the audience at the first note.”
As Sue shared with the WWC, she revealed that there is little funding for new instruments or repairs. This year alone, the program was short 22 violins, and the teacher was left to develop creative solutions, like practicing with Kleenex boxes in lieu of actual violins and sharing instruments when possible. As the program continues to gain popularity with students, this need will only continue to grow.
With the funding from WWC, Sue proposed purchasing ten new violins for the 2016/2017 school year and using the remaining funding to establish a Violins & Strings Fund at the Student Advancement Foundation.
WWC members were moved by Sue’s story, voting for the SAF as the April 2016 beneficiary organization. On May 6, several members visited the SAF office with a $13,600 donation to seed the new Violins & Strings Fund!
Help us continue to build the elementary strings program at GRPS, click HERE and select Violins & Strings Fund in the dropdown menu.
To learn more about the Women Who Care, check out their Facebook page HERE. WWC members make a one year commitment, agreeing to contribute $100 each quarter to the selected nonprofit.