April 2021 Newsletter

April 2021 Newsletter

Inspiring Hope
April 2021
Director’s Corner: This month, those of us living in the Nation’s Capital Area continue to be deeply challenged by the global crisis that COVID-19 presents. For the past ten years, most of The Tacy Foundation’s philanthropic work has consisted of youth volunteering in person at facilities to provide Live Music for Seniors and Live Music for Hospitals, mentoring Title 1 elementary school children onsite, assembling CDs for distribution, and mentoring seniors in piano. We filled the weekends 52 weeks of the year with travel to seniors’ homes in Northern Virginia & Maryland and with performances every Saturday at Maryland hospitals in Frederick, Germantown, Rockville and Silver Spring, bringing with us sounds of hope and healing. And we traveled to elementary schools and Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County on weekdays after school and Saturdays, bringing youth to teach Piano Pals® and Guitar Pals® lessons.
When the pandemic started, we thought it would have passed by now. That day has not arrived yet. But it is coming! It is now April 2021, and we have just returned to one senior facility in Virginia, Harmony at Chantilly, for a limited-participation Live Music event. Working together, we have prevailed with ingenuity through technology, with handmade and printed cards, emails, artwork, video playlists of music and story, streaming live music, virtual training for the next Piano and Guitar Pals® generations, and with the brilliance and heartiness of every volunteer.   
Hearten your day and your life by the stories that follow. Thank you for your kindness, generosity, and thankful responses to serve.
The Work You Do Truly Makes a Difference:
Interviews with Activity Directors
Hello, my name is Victoria, and I am an alumna of The Tacy Foundation. While growing up, I was fortunate to have been able to participate in activities of the organization such as playing the piano at senior homes and hospitals, being a mentor in the Piano Pals program, and being recorded on CDs that got shipped to soldiers and hospital patients. My most recent project has been conducting interviews with the Activity Directors from Asbury Methodist Village, the Housing Opportunities Commission, Shady Grove Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, and Harmony at Chantilly, to learn how the directors, staff, and residents feel they are impacted by the Foundation’s work. The responses I received are truly touching, and I want to share them with everyone so that all of you volunteers are reminded of the significant impact you have on others. 
Several Activity Directors mentioned that the residents particularly liked the Foundation’s live musical performances by the children and teens. I am sure we all know that these concerts make the residents happy, but maybe we are not all aware how much. These performances not only cheer up the seniors while they enjoy the live music, but the impact lasts the rest of their day as audience members have an uplifted and joyful attitude and eagerly await the volunteers’ next visit. Many of the residents socialize only with other residents and staff, so when they are able to interact with volunteers, they feel cared for and appreciated. Furthermore, many of the seniors have memory conditions such as Alzheimer’s and often struggle to remember the events going on in their daily lives. However, the Activity Directors have emphasized the healing power of music and how it warms their hearts to see the seniors singing along to songs they remember from their childhoods. The residents in each of these facilities enjoy all the different types of instruments that are played, and classical music seems to be their favorite.  
While interviewing the Activity Director at the Housing Opportunities Commission, I was told a touching story about the significance of the Piano Pals program. One of her residents who had always wanted to learn how to play the piano, but never got the chance, enrolled in the program and was finally able to accomplish her dream. This resident practiced every day and eventually was able to play numerous songs. This director stated that she had never seen anyone so dedicated to anything in her life and that she was overjoyed to see the difference it made in the resident’s demeanor, as she could tell the senior was extremely excited about her musical accomplishments.
Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus, the live performances and Piano Pals for seniors’ have been suspended, but luckily the residents are still able to enjoy the gift of music through the recorded YouTube performances and the music CDs that have been sent to them. One Activity Director stated that the music means a lot to her residents, as many of them come from diverse cultures and do not necessarily understand English, but are still able to enjoy music, as it is the international language. Some additional service projects that have positively impacted the seniors during this time have been the cards and art kits that they have received. The directors explained that these simple acts of kindness mean a lot to the seniors as it gives them something fun to do and permits them to feel more enthusiastic and less isolated during these difficult times. 
The residents of these facilities and the Activity Directors cannot wait until the virus is over so that once again the volunteers can fill their homes with love and music in person. As you can see, the work of the Foundation has a significant impact on the community: each and every one of you should be proud of the difference you make in the lives of others.  –Victoria Aghamalian
Two Notes of Appreciation
Dear Friends at The Tacy Foundation,
February 2021

On behalf of the US Long Beach Healthcare System, I would like to thank you whole heartedly for your extremely thoughtful, kind, creative and generous donation of the many musical flash drives for our veterans this Valentine’s Day. I cannot begin to thank you enough for all the time, hard work and love that go into these, and our Veterans Appreciation Committee was so very grateful for the opportunity to the veterans in our Blind Rehabilitation Unit for you!
-- D. Ludke, VA Long Beach, Veterans Appreciation Committee.
I have the pleasure of co-chairing our Veterans Appreciation Committee at the Tibor Rubin VA Medical Center in Long Beach, CA, which is a community made up of employees, volunteers, and veterans who are passionate about honoring our veterans & letting them know we truly appreciate their services & the opportunity to serve them. One of our favorite activities during the year is our annual Valentine’s Day distribution! When I told my committee about you & your flash drives, we were overjoyed to deliver these to our veterans and share the love from all of you to each veteran in his/her room. It was truly an amazing experience, the veterans were so HAPPY (& many tearful with joy).  
Thank you from the bottom of my HEART (and our hearts) for making all that happiness and cheerfulness possible. You are very special indeed – special to our Veterans Appreciation Committee, the Tibor Rubin VA Long Beach Medical Center, & special to our Nation’s Veterans! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Wishing you a year full of hearts & happiness!
Very sincerely, Deborah Ludke
A Song to Lift People’s Spirits
"You're Gonna Be Okay", by Sydney Finch
I wanted to write "You're Gonna be Okay" because COVID-19 has made this such a difficult time for so many people, and I was also aware of people in my life who have faced so many challenges the past few months outside of the virus. My grandparents have struggled with numerous health issues, one of my friends lost their father to cancer, and a few other family friends are also currently dealing with cancer. I also have a personal connection with this song. Five years ago, I was diagnosed with an aggressive case of scoliosis, and I had to have spinal fusion surgery to help straighten my spine. The hospital where my surgery took place was Children's National Hospital in Washington D.C. I know that's one of the places where our music goes, and I wanted this song to encourage the kids and the parents there by saying, "I know exactly what you're going through, I know it's hard, but I know that you can get through this." When people listen to this song, my hope is that they are reminded that they are not walking through these trials alone and that the difficulties of this past year will not last forever. Everything's going to work out alright. -- Sydney Finch
Tacy Foundation Newsletter Teen Chief Intern Anika Seth Wins Scholarship for
Outstanding Young Women in STEM
Sponsored by Dominion Energy
Anika Seth
With support from Dominion Energy, the third annual Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Breakfast featured the presentation of Reaching for the Stars Scholarships for three outstanding young women associated with FIRST Chesapeake robotics teams. Over 60 applications were received for three available scholarships, a total of $5,000 in awards. Anika Seth, Team 449, The Blair Robot Project was one of three scholarship winners. She is the recipient of this year’s first place award ($3000).

Each year the Women in STEM Breakfast features a Robotics Demonstration giving student robotics teams in the FIRST Chesapeake District an opportunity to show off their hard work and help FIRST Chesapeake communicate what FIRST robotics is all about. This type of program can inspire the next generation of FIRST team members. Through virtual this year, the Robotics Demonstration Sponsored by Canon Virginia gave all eight finalists for the Women in STEM Scholarships sponsored by Dominion Energy an opportunity shine.

Anika, a senior at Montgomery Blair High School, has volunteered with The Tacy Foundation for twelve years. 

(This article was adapted from the FIRST Chesapeake newsletter.)
Virtual Live Music Concerts
Part I: Just over a year has passed since the Tacy Foundation’s young musicians last entered the doors of a nursing home, hospital, or Title 1 Elementary School. It’s no secret that the communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic are the most difficult to reach in the age of Zoom, but the Foundation’s virtual live music concerts are already beginning to bridge the divide.

Spearheaded by Anna Hsu and Alexander Suh, The Tacy Foundation’s Virtual Live Music Concerts span 30 to 45 minutes in length and feature a program of talented young musicians. After the performance, a YouTube link to the recording is distributed to nursing homes and hospitals across the DMV. The concerts have been a major success, despite initial concerns over accessibility. To emulate a “live” performance, the concerts are hosted on the platform Streamyard, which allows the host to manage audio and video quality, ensuring that only the performer can be seen or heard. At the same time, the audience can opt to watch the performance live, or view it later. 

While nothing can replace the personal connections forged between musicians and senior residents, these weekly concerts bring the joy of music to a relatively isolated population during the pandemic. The performances have already received hundreds of views on YouTube, and both will continue to grow in the coming months.  – Ethan Schenker
For more information on Virtual Live Music Concerts, please email concerts.thetacyfoundation@gmail.com.
Anna Hsu and Alexander Suh
Part II: I began volunteering with the Tacy Foundation when I was in 8th grade, and as cheesy as it may sound, it’s changed my life. I originally joined because one of my childhood friends knew I needed a way to get service hours, and she invited me to perform with her. Little did I know that, through the Foundation, I would truly learn the meaning of service, become a better musician, and meet some of my closest friends.
Although I’ve always loved performing, my monthly performances at Arbor Terrace, Tribute at Heritage Village, and Tall Oaks allowed me to share pieces without anxiety and pressure. As a bonus, there’s certainly nothing better than watching happy smiles of seniors after a smooth performance! I remember watching seniors singing along to “The Sound of Music” and feeling giddy about the little bits of excitement we could bring them through music. Inspired by this, I also began arranging pieces to play at performances – in fact, “The Lonely Goatherd” was the first arrangement that I performed! (Shoutout to Emily Wu for sight-reading that with me, because honestly, I don’t know if anyone else would have wanted to do that!)

My Tacy experience was shaped by those who volunteered with me, but unfortunately, I'm not able to connect with others as often now. I’ve met some of the kindest people through the Foundation, and I’ve watched them put their hearts and souls into performances and the conversations with seniors that followed. They’ve also supported me so, so much throughout my time with them – from encouraging me to pursue piano and setting good examples for me to follow, to giving me constructive criticism about my performances, they’ve done wonders for me as well. Outside of performances, I also fondly remember post-performance lunches and holiday parties, where talking about music brought us closer.

One of my best friends that I met through the Tacy Foundation – Sasha Suh – and I have started a new program in the last month: Virtual Live Concerts! We’ve really missed performing live, so we thought this would be the next best way to share our music with the seniors. Join us on a Saturday afternoon when you’re free. We’d love to see others there to join us on this musical journey as we wait out the pandemic. Maybe you’ll write your own Tacy Foundation story! – Anna Hsu

Part III: Alison Boynton, volunteer Programs Manager, has been sending regular offerings of Tacy Foundation videos, artwork, stories, jokes, and letters each month to each senior facility where we send children and teens for Live Music concerts....until COVID-19. Our volunteers have been hard at work creating music for institutional residents and others to enjoy. There was a recent (March 13) virtual music performance available to share. It is about 30 minutes with 7 performers playing the piano, flute and violin. Also, Alice Yacubovich created a 41-minute virtual concert of performances by Tacy Foundation volunteers. This concert includes a selection of different pieces played by many of Dr. Miri Yacubovich’s students as well as three students of another teacher, Junko Takahashi. The links to these videos are below Enjoy!

Tacy Foundation Performance, March 13th 2021
*Video begins at 3:16 on the time meter.
Performances By Tacy Foundation Volunteers
Adjusting Activities to the Pandemic but Still Going Strong
Sujit Hegde
My name is Sujit Hegde, and I am in 8th grade. I have been involved with The Tacy Foundation since I was in elementary school. It has been such a big part of my life. When the pandemic hit, I was worried that I would not be able to participate in the various projects. However, the Tacy Foundation still let me do many of my favorite projects such as live performance, cards for seniors, and much more! Even with the pandemic going on, The Tacy Foundation helped me contribute to the community in many ways.
One of my favorite projects was the live performance. Because of the application Streamyard, we were able to stream our performances live on YouTube, and then they would be recorded so we could later send them out to hospitals, friends and family. This really helped get back the experience of performing live for seniors, friends and family. It also helped me personally interact with people and get exposure to different piano pieces that I had never heard of before.             
One of my other favorite programs was a training class on how to teach kids piano. I think teaching is one of the highest forms of service, and this class really taught me how to pass my knowledge of music to others.
I also helped make cards for seniors. During this pandemic, seniors are one of communities that have been hit the most. They are not able to see anybody because they are at risk, and this can really affect them mentally. Even a small act of kindness such as sending them cards can be extremely beneficial to their mental health. On each card, I wrote wishes for the holidays or an uplifting message. These messages reminded seniors that they are loved. 
I am extremely grateful for The Tacy Foundation for these opportunities to help the community in such a stressful time. 
A Live Performance
Performers at Harmony at Chantily
After a year without live performances, being able to perform at Harmony at Chantilly was a great joy. The hard-working volunteers and successful event made for an incredible return. There is nothing that I’ve missed more than seeing the bright smiles on the senior’s faces and their rhythmic sways as they sit in the audience, listening to our volunteers. I was once told that music is meant to be shared with others. For the past year, I have very much missed having a chance to share my music with the seniors every month like we used to. The warmth in their eyes and the appreciation in their claps made my efforts all the more worthwhile. I feel immensely honored to be a part of The Tacy Foundation and to be given so many amazing opportunities that have taught me so much about the power that music holds, and how to use that power to give back to the community. I want to give thanks to Kenneth Duong, Kathy Yang, and Ethan Tran for being amazing volunteers and participating in our first live performance in over a year, despite the ongoing COVID-19 virus, and thank you to Harmony at Chantilly for having us back. We all look forward to future live events, and slowly moving towards having things back to normal. 
-- Allison Oh, 11th Grade, Chantilly High School
Puzzles for Seniors
Candace Moore
Hello, I am a high school senior and have been a volunteer with the Tacy Foundation since the 4th grade. For years, my community service largely consisted of providing live music to seniors in residential living facilities. During the pandemic, however, I was compelled to discover new ways to extend a helping hand. After much consideration, I decided to start my own Puzzle Drive. I invited volunteers to donate jigsaw puzzles and puzzle books, and they were also invited to assemble their own wordsearch booklets with personalized designs. In just a few months, through the efforts of Tacy Foundation volunteers and the homeschool community, I was able to collect over 300 puzzles, more than 1,000 cards, and hundreds of magazines, which we distributed to over 20 senior living facilities throughout Maryland and Virginia. All the efforts were directed towards wishing seniors happiness and health and reminding them that they are appreciated and missed during this time of social distancing and isolation.

I am extremely grateful to Ms. Holliday and The Tacy Foundation for supporting me in this endeavor. I was able to grow as a leader in my community, and I also learned to empower others to make a difference. While the pandemic has created difficulties for many families and their loved ones, I am thankful for the chance to bring positivity into their lives. I will never forget the warm smiles and heartfelt thanks from the recipients! In completing this project, I learned that I can always give back, no matter the circumstances. Though life poses many obstacles, a heart willing to serve others knows no barriers, and it can accomplish more than one could ever imagine! – Candace Moore
How Volunteer Work Impacted My Life
Siddharth Kondam
The opportunities to grow as a person are endless. Whether it’s playing sports or reading a book, any small or large experience can shape a person’s identity. One of the main ways that I grew as a person was through volunteer work, specifically through The Tacy Foundation. I started playing the piano at volunteer events such as the Asbury Homes and the Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville at a relatively young age. During that time, I went to those places with a mindset that these events were an obligation. 
As I started to grow older and experienced more of these events, the way I viewed them seismically shifted. Having the opportunity to play in front of individuals who genuinely enjoyed not just the piano, but also music in general made the experience much better. Repeatedly seeing the faces of elderly citizens light up through music made my day. As time moved on, I wanted to immerse myself in the volunteer experience as much as possible. I initially joined the Liberty Lane Eden Home team as the Chief Intern. Here, I was able to coordinate the senior events with other students, which allowed me the opportunity to make an impact on a people’s days. Additionally, one of my favorite experiences was when I went to India with my sister with the goal of teaching the piano to impoverished children in an Indian village. In the village, immersed in a culture that felt so familiar yet so different was an experience that will last a lifetime. Teaching those kids was another reminder of the immense privilege I’ve had growing up and how I can share my good fortune with others. Over the years, the vast number of volunteer experiences I’ve had have truly transformed me into the person I am today. -- Siddharth Kondam
We thank the Board of Directors, Richard Pedersen (President), Sarah Murray Walters (Director), Claudia Scott (Secretary), Les Tacy (Treasurer), Jon Mathis (Director), and Volunteer Staff, Jenny Utz (SSL Data Manager), Alison Boynton (Programs Manager), Michael Tacy (Web Manager), Matthew Scott (Graphic Designer for the Newsletter), and Michael Favin (Chief Editor of the newsletter) for extraordinary volunteerism. We also thank Karen and Homer Edwards (Mcpadnet owners) for 500 large print Crossword Puzzles Books, 4000 holiday cards, USB inserts, Michael and Chris Engel (Rolling Hills Recording Studio owners) for USBs and CDs, Ana Eastep (Studio 21) for ongoing graphic arts, Lawrence and Marielou Holmes (original designs for the Foundation’s CD Inserts) and the Student Service Learning Offices of Montgomery County Public Schools for their prompt review of community service projects and preapproval of SSL credit for Tacy Foundation volunteers’ home-based projects listed on the Volunteer Website:  montgomeryserves.org.  
We thank every parent who has encouraged his/her child and teen to enroll and to continue through COVID-19. Each one has traveled repeatedly to pick up and drop off materials to be donated. Most of all, we thank the youth who inspire us each day with their good will, humor, resourcefulness and resilience, through music and stories!
The Tacy Foundation
Educational Mission
Foster youth development through music, story and mentoring

Philanthropic Mission
Empower youth to discover and use their gifts in service to others

Social Mission
Build community partnerships and create intergenerational connections 

Whom We Serve
Service members
Economically disadvantaged
Individuals who want to serve
How We Serve (Programs)
Live music concerts
Reading Express
Piano Pals
Composers’ Circle
Music CDs
Musical equipment

Charlotte Holliday, Founder and Executive Director
Matthew D. Scott, Graphic Editor
Michael Favin, Chief Editor
Anika Seth, Chief Teen Editor
Siddharth Kondam, Teen Editor
Ethan Schenker, Teen Editor
Donations are appreciated.  Thank you!  
Donate online via PayPal at:  www.tacyfoundation.org.
Or send your donation to: 
The Tacy Foundation 
Box 2334
Germantown, Maryland 20875
Ask Amazonsmile.org to donate a portion of your order to The Tacy Foundation.  The Foundation will receive a small percentage of your purchases.  A very easy way to donate at no additional cost to you!
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.