With school districts facing greater financial crises, programs have to get cut — and the arts among the first to go. The arts promote creativity, and give children tools through which to express themselves. If you’re a strong proponent of the arts, you can help keep them alive in your local school districts, even if it feels like you’re just one person against a school board that won’t budge. If enough people act, the children in your community won’t have to go without the arts.
1. Make a Donation
Make a donation of something you no longer need and select a charity that promotes art education; the bigger the item, the greater revenue you’ll bring in for the charity, so donate your old boat or even car. It may seem like quite a generous thing to donate a vehicle, but if it’s one that’s been sitting in your garage or yard for months or even years, not getting used, it’ll do more good raising funds for a cause you believe in. If you’re considering getting a new car, donate your old one instead of trading it in.
You actually will see some profit from donating your car in the form of a tax deduction at the end of the year. Donating a large item of significant value will make a huge dent in the amount of money you owe to the IRS, or increase the tax refund you’re already expecting.
If you’re truly passionate about the arts, your school district needs as much money as possible; talk to your family members, friends and neighbors about donating their large items, too.
2. Volunteer to Teach
Part of the reason why the arts are cut in school districts is because the districts don’t have the budget to afford teachers. By volunteering to teach the arts for free, you eliminate this problem. While you likely don’t have the time and resources to teach the arts full-time, nor will the school be able to hire you to teach during the school day, volunteering to teach an after-school course in the arts at least once a week can make a significant impact on students.
The kids will look forward to your courses with relish. Plus, giving the kids someplace to go after school helps many families without childcare reduce the incidences of kids getting into trouble or heading home alone as latchkeys.
Teach whatever you’re passionate about. You don’t have to stick to typical school offerings when it comes to offering an after-school course. You might teach a course about:
- A specific instrument or an orchestra of instruments
- A choir
- Theater, including acting and behind-the-scenes work
- A specific type of art, or many forms of art
As volunteer instructor, you’ll have to provide the supplies for the course yourself. This might get especially expensive when it comes to items like instrument rental fees, so consider asking parents for funding.
3. Lead a Fundraising Event
If your school district is willing to continue teaching arts classes if it can raise the budget, do what you can to keep the arts alive through fundraising events. Many adults in the community want arts in their schools, but few step up to answer the call for help. Schools rely on passionate people like you to volunteer to get funds however possible.
Besides your donation plan and relying on organizations that support educational causes, you can raise the money directly through bake sales, craft sales, festivals, raffles, and even tickets to see students from your after-school course perform or exhibit their skills.
The School Superintendents Associationcites a study where students in high school who elected to take music more than doubled their math scores and increased their scores in subjects such as history and geography by 40 percent. The evidence that the arts enrich students’ lives is clear, but evidence isn’t always enough in the face of budget woes.
Beyond helping to raise money and volunteering to teach yourself, the next best thing you can do to keep the arts alive is to participate in public debates on arts in the classroom. Make your cause known to the community, and let your voice be heard.
Photo Credit By: huffingtonpost.com