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Donation of the Week

Ukeleles in Paradise!

paradise, ca – Thanks to your donations, Keeping the Blues Alive made a donation to Ponderosa Elementary School!

For fifth grade teacher, Mr. Hull, the past school year has been one grant away from paradise.  His classroom is described as “positive, dynamic and busy.”  With over 10 years of teaching experience, this isn’t news.  However, his students – all coming from different socio-economic backgrounds – needed a slight change of pace.

“My students run the gamut of socio-economic categories,” Mr. Hull explains.  “We have the super rich and the super poor. Our school is in an old historic mountain community on the edge of the California “Gold Country”.  Many families strongly feel the impact of the economic downturn of late. The bulk of our school’s students are well loved, and supported at home.  For others, however, school is the most consistent part of their daily life. Success at school gives them new hope, and reflection on a brighter future that allows them a greater participation in the world in which they will live as adults.”

In today’s society, these social paradigms are becoming more and more frequent.  As unemployment rates vary from state to state, the concept of job security leaves has become antiquated. As a result, one could never assume what a student’s home life is actually like; The students from affluent families mingle with the students who come from less, and they learn how to relate to each other in different ways.

In the music classroom, however, all those barriers are broken.  Mr. Hull knows this all too well. By providing a safe and fun learning environment for his class, he has been able to meet his students at a common love for music.  As for the ukeleles, well – let’s just say they had their share of playing time!

“I am requesting five (5) ukuleles to replace our old and damaged instruments we are using today,” Mr. Hull asks.

Every day, after the flag salute (of course), we sing a song or two together.  Mr. Hull models many of the skills they have or will be learning.  Each week they work on different chords, theory and techniques.  They also have weekly tests, and maintain a practice folder which indicates their time spent on the instrument at home.  In an effort to engage with the local community and encourage the students to stay sharp, Mr. Hull arranges a performance at a local retirement home which makes for a wonderful sing-along party with the students at the helm!

Thanks to donors like yourselves, KTBA was able to provide Mr. Hull with five ukelele starter packs to replace the old and worn out instruments that he invested in 10 years ago!  It is incredibly certain that this fifth grade classroom will enjoy these new instruments – they are well deserved and will be put to a lot of good use over the next few years!

“I love my students and am addicted to seeing their “inner lights” turn on as they grasp new discoveries, information and talents,” Hull adds.  “The ukulele is a major part in reaching my students, and helping them see that they have a lot to offer, and can do amazing things in new challenges!”

All of the ukeleles will arrive within a week or so.  The donations were split amongst KTBA and the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation.  You know what they say – “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work!”

Dear Keeping The Blues Alive Foundation,

I was thrilled beyond words to receive an email announcing your generous contribution towards our classroom music needs. I cannot express my gratitude sufficiently, but can only assure you that your help in meeting our needs is greatly needed. As your foundation is, no doubt, aware of the challenges music programs are facing in schools all around our nation, you can better understand how a gift like yours helps so much.I have been lucky to have a class set of ukuleles (which I purchased over 10 years ago). I’ve been able to teach about 33 kids a year the basics, and intermediate, skills of the instrument. Over the years I have repaired, replaced, and refurbished, the set. As the years have continued, many of them have become unfixable. Many students have had to share, which sometimes makes things difficult for everyone to learn at a reasonable rate.

Because of your gift, my students will better learn, and enjoy, the beauty of music. It is always my hope, and reward, to see students advance in skill, and towards other instrumental programs. Again, thank you.

With gratitude,
Mr. Hull

Every week, KTBA makes a donation to a music program in need!   To date, we have helped over 18,000 students  through these weekly donations and we will soon include an update on every one of them!

Music – especially learning an instrument – is one of the simplest (not to mention fun) ways to encourage and to practice creative thinking and boost children’s cognitive development.

If you would like to be a part of our story and keep music education in school programs, make a small donation!  It will never go unnoticed!

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