Why not support our community by giving whatever you can


Reason to Give is joining Lafayette Elementary School for Striding for Strings on April 30th, 2011. Striding for Strings is a 5k walk in Humboldt Park to raise money for the Merit Music program. We need to reach our goal of $5000 by April 30! Reason to Give staff, participants, volunteers, and friends will all be walking. Please sponsor us in Striding for Strings by donating today!. All pledges are appreciated!

The Story:

Troubled by continuous cuts in education funding for Chicago Public Schools, Trisha Shrode, principal of Lafayette Elementary School, asked Reason to Give to help save her school's renowned music program. Lafayette serves Humboldt Park students in Pre-K through 8th grade. The school hosts two Head Start classrooms and is a cluster site for Autism. Unfortunately, every year is a struggle to keep their music program available to the students.

The Merit School of Music began ten years ago as an afterschool program at Lafayette Elementary.  Today it is one of the largest string orchestra programs in Chicago. As the students attest to in their interviews, performing is their favorite part of the music program. Students have the chance to perform concerts at Lafayette and several sites around Chicago. These experiences teach students not only public performance skills, but self confidence and responsibility.

The Merit Music program gives students opportunities that many from low-income neighborhoods such as Humboldt Park do not usually have. Lafayette students have gone on to attend numerous private and selective enrollment high schools in Chicago and around the country based on their involvement in the Merit Music program. 

Music teacher, Arturs Weible, sees the importance of the orchestra program everyday. He knows that its not just about learning an instrument; its about learning to work with and respect one another, building self-confidence, and growing into young leaders. The students told Reason to Give how grateful they were to be a part of the orchestra because it kept them from falling negative influences around them and gave them hope for the future. When Reason to Give was invited to attend one of the orchestra's performances and sit in on a practice, we were amazed at the energy in the room and the level of commitment each student showed.

Watch the video. Listen to the words and the music of the Lafayette Orchestra, and please help us save this wonderful music program.