MCALLEN, Texas (KVEO) — A local nonprofit teaching fine arts to children is asking for the community’s help to continue its mission, as increased interest in the program has left them with an instrument shortage for about 200 children.
ToGive International teaches children in the community from the age of four and up talents like singing, dancing and how to play instruments.
The organization started in 2014 to fill a void for children unable to afford fine arts education. When the programs moved online at the start of the pandemic, ToGive lost half of its students, but most of them have since returned to in-person lessons.
However, many of the students do not have an instrument of their own. Representatives said their mission has been especially important during the pandemic, as children have had to do without their usual extracurriculars.
In order to continue serving the students, ToGive has reached out to local businesses, schools and music partners for instrument donations.
“Fortunately, right now, we’re at record numbers,” said the Assistant Director of Development, Amado Caballero. “People are ready to come back and learn the power of fine arts, obviously following the community guidelines, and safety guidelines from our local governments.”
“We purchased as much as we can and lend [students] our instruments, but we want to make sure they stay with the instruments after this because a lot of them want to continue after,” Growth Representative Angel Trejo said. “Even if they leave the program, we want to make sure they keep music with them.”
Students in the program shared that the lessons sparked their love for music, and they will continue to pursue it in some capacity as they grow up.
“My favorite part of coming is my violin classes I take,” said Santiago Carbajal. “I have a very good teacher. She explains very carefully and very good.”
“I’m happy and proud because it’s really fun and with piano, you can just learn a lot of things like notes and things like that,” said Zoey Martinez.
“I just do my best and try my best,” said Sean Garcia. “If you want to be a player of drums you have to be a player. If you try your best, you try your best.”
The students add they’re excited and prepared for the upcoming spring concert. For anyone interested in joining, there are three locations: McAllen, Hidalgo and Mission. The services are also available online.
Enrollment is currently open and grants are available.
ToGive is planning a musical equipment drive for later this month and is accepting instruments in any condition, along with monetary donations.
Once an instrument is assigned to a student, the donor will know where it went.
For more information, visit their Facebook page.