Perhaps that was no more evident than last week’s by-kids-for-kids concert sponsored by the nonprofit women’s philanthropic entity.
A group of six child instrumentalists from Franklin Pond Chamber Music serenaded a group of their peers, the latter participants of the Horizons Student Enrichment initiative at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Sandy Springs. Both programs have gotten much-needed funding from the society.
“As we enter our 25th anniversary year, it’s gratifying to know we’ve made a difference in this community and wonderful to see two of our long-standing grant recipients working together to further some of the society’s goals by enriching the lives of children at academic risk through the arts,” society President Kate Dalba said.
The Horizons program is designed to be an avenue for youth at the Title I school poverty level via an individualized curriculum whose areas of emphasis include reading fluency, comprehension and spelling.
While its ultimate goal is to eliminate the academic gap so frequently experienced by at-risk students, Horizons also exposes them to enrichment as well as community service activities.
Thus, experiences like the Franklin Pond concert are likely to leave a lasting impression, said Horizons Director Kay Watson.
“It introduces additional opportunities to our kids and is a means of showing them something cultural and artistic, Watson said.
“[Last week’s show] will be particularly profound for them. … [It] allows them to see other children achieving and being successful through dedication.”
The society has contributed nearly $3 million in grants to organizations that focus on the arts, social services, education, historic preservation and conservation since its inception a quarter of a century ago.
Like Horizons, Franklin Pond — albeit at the opposite end of the achievement spectrum — is a noted beneficiary of the society’s philanthropy.
The Franklin Pond project welcomes gifted musicians ranging in age from 11 to 19 for six weeks each summer. While participants receive formal instruction, they are ultimately responsible for virtually all phases of scheduled public performances.
“The community outreach concerts benefit our students as much as they benefit our audiences,” said Franklin Pond founder Ronda Restess. “[Our kids] learn a sense of community service and hone important skills such as discipline, public speaking and the ability to convey their passion for music through performance.”