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October 2020 Newsletter

Michael Tacy

Inspiring Hope In October 2020

From youth and their families in the Nation’s Capital area, amazing outpouring of compassion grows! Beautiful music, stories, email messages, cards, and artwork pour into the Teen Chief Interns’ COVID Project boxes. After sorting, these homemade gifts are sent to seniors, hospitals, and First Responders. The Live Music video YouTube private playlist now numbers 250 selections.  Hours of music stream to those facilities where we have longterm musical relationships from a decade of pre-Covid events. Asbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg draws programming from this playlist for its Closed Circuit TV for residents, still room-bound and quarantined.  All other 25 senior facilities express gratitude for the youth’s resourcefulness.

Children’s National Hospital in Washington has graciously and gratefully received the Live Music Playlist.  From the Foundation’s channel, Music Therapy Director Dana Morgan is working with Seacrest Studios to use these selections for streaming into the children's hospital rooms. Organized by college Interns Keerthana Srinivasan and Joann Wu for Seacrest, and assisted by high school Interns Shairee Arora and Anika Seth, the list of 250 songs continues to grow weekly with new songs from eager volunteers.  We are building bridges of communication and support for those who are alone and alienated from their normal social lives.

READING EXPRESS, has captured the imagination and creativity of many volunteers.  Be sure to see and hear the video created by Jessica Hoang.  Her children’s book A Hero in Everyone is streaming along with the other beautifully illustrated stories. 

Children’s National Hospital in Washington has accepted the link for The Reading Express YouTube Playlist for programming into the patients’ rooms. Pratyusha Mandal, Chief Intern of Reading Express Virtual Library, continues to receive and upload videos for the growing playlist. Her encouragement and guidance have empowered our kids to create all sorts of classic tales for hospitals.  Below is the link to this Tacy Foundation YouTube Private Playlist now playing at Children's National Hospital:

Here is the link to Reading Express Youtube:

 https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLL7QdivcJmnis4fDF3dC-ykyHO8hyPTzB

Children send emails to the Programs Manager, Alison Boynton.  Ms. Boynton sends out their emails with artwork, messages, stories, crossword puzzles, and thank yous to each facility.

This past summer a brother and sister worked weekly to provide pictures for seniors.  Here is Mario Lara’s description of his wonderful work for seniors:

Mario Lara, 6th Grader

Hi, my name is Mario Lara and I am a rising 6th grader. This summer my 4th grade sister, Rukmani Lara and I joined the team of volunteers at the Tacy Foundation.

In this particular volunteer project, we created several vintage car drawings for seniors in retirement homes. We thought it would make the seniors happy to see cars from the time when they were young. In addition, we added a fun crossword puzzle with each of the drawings, including one about musical instruments. We figured this particular crossword would be nice because of the Tacy Foundation’s main service of music performances with a variety of musical instruments!  Of course, we also wrote a personal note along with the crossword and drawing. Upon completion, we scanned and emailed everything so the retirement communities could print them out and distribute it to the seniors. During this pandemic, it is especially important for the elderly to know that we care about them and they are not alone.  We hope they felt happy when they saw our drawings, notes, and crosswords.  Click here to see some of Mario's Vintage Car Drawings

In another project, I made 45 handmade cards for our veterans. I drew a large American Flag on the front of each card and wrote a patriotic message inside each card to thank them for their service. I hope the veterans felt appreciative when they read my cards.

In the future, Ruki and I both plan to participate in more volunteer opportunities. We also hope to submit videos for musical concerts that the Tacy Foundation organizes. We are both beginner musicians – Ruki is learning to play piano and I am learning to play violin. We would like to give many thanks to the Tacy Foundation for providing volunteer opportunities for kids of our ages. We learned the importance of taking action, and volunteering to give back to our community especially during this challenging time.

Congratulations to Joseph Matthew!  

Joseph Matthew, 7th grader in Clarksburg, Maryland, enrolled online in June.  He wanted to reach out to those elderly who are quarantined.  His summer work totaled 189 hours of drawing!  All drawings were conveyed to seniors.  For this incredible outpouring, he has qualified for and received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award (certificate and Gold Medal) from Atlanta, Georgia.
From Joseph:
I am very grateful for this opportunity from the Tacy Foundation. This wonderful opportunity engaged me during the Pandemic summertime, and I was very happy when I saw that my hard work has brought happiness for other people.

This opportunity provided great exposure for my artwork areas, creating new ideas in drawing, like scenery, flowers, some puzzles, and comics. I also have improved much in my drawings and reading.

Through this remote opportunity, I made many drawings for seniors who are isolated in their apartments. This cheered them up and reminded them about the outside world. I learned that people need to be cheered up in times of need. 

I used different crayons, paint, markers, and pencils. I learned different drawing techniques using simple tools like cotton buds, bubble sheets, stencils, sandpaper, and much more. I tried mixing many colors and found new colors.

I also read stories to kids in the hospital. From that, I learned voice modulation which can be used to improve my reading.  I am very careful while selecting stories for kids, especially try to select happy ending stories and learned to choose public domain storybooks from a very large collection of stories. It helped in improving my knowledge of classic books.
This virtual opportunity made me very excited knowing that my work in making cards and reading made an impact on other people’s lives. I am also happy to be a part of this project. Overall, this opportunity was a very enlightening experience for me.
Thank you,
Joseph Mathew
Clarksburg, MD
Some samples of Joseph's work:

High School Seniors continue to lead the Foundation’s Covid-19 Projects with grace, beauty, and remarkable maturity.  These seniors as well as those others featured in August and September are sustaining a dedication to the community that inspires us all:

Matthew Rothman

The COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe overwhelmingly. Since mid-March when the pandemic prompted school closure, many activities that I take for granted doing every day is no longer straightforward. The pandemic has generated nothing but uncertainty, which is the way many view this situation. While everything seems to be in a chaos and loss of hopes, I learned that it is all about my attitude on how I handle such unprecedented disruptions. Hello, my name is Matthew Rothmann, a rising senior at Richard Montgomery High School. I have been a volunteer for the Tacy Foundation since 2016. My younger brother Luke, and I started for the foundation as music performers at Sunrise assisted living center at Montgomery Village. We later have been performing music at hospitals, seniors and rehab centers organized by the Tacy Foundation.  

 

Because of the social distance to control the spread of coronavirus, the Tacy Foundation has been providing numerous volunteer opportunities since the pandemic started. There have been several projects that I signed up and accomplished at home, such as music recording, and reading recording. The most recent project I participated in was the USBs and Insert Assembly project. When my mother asked if I am interested in working on this project, we were on our way to my piano lesson on a Saturday morning. My immediate thought was the purpose of USBs, and how it could possibly help others. They are assembled to be sent to communities. So the music will bring hopes to those who may have lost love ones, or who may have difficulties to cope with the situation during this pandemic. I was certainly going to take that opportunity to help out. My mother called Mrs. Holliday and reserved a box of USBs and inserts. I worked right on it when I got home after my lesson. The music USB contained great music pieces performed by numerous students. The project itself was fairly easy, one music USB and one sheet of paper listed with music title and performer were placed inside a plastic bag, and then sealed it to complete one package. Although that was all I had to do, I wanted to do more. I wrote a personal note inside the sheet of paper with music title/performer for each package to encourage whoever receives the Tacy’s gift to stay positive and strong during this challenge time. I wanted to convey to them that the gift not only offers the hopes of music, but also caring thoughts and encouragements from the individual who assembled the package.    

 

During this pandemic, many of our fellow citizens offer assistance and bring hopes to seniors, people with illness, and unfortunate others. I feel blessed to have ample opportunities offered by the Tacy Foundation to contribute to our community. I know there is always hope and I am optimistic that this pandemic will soon pass! To close out this brief, I would like to offer an inspiring quote by Joseph Campbell to motivate our volunteers in the foundation – “Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.” Such powers jointly with actions of caring and encouragement of others are great!  

Apurva Choudhary

Hello, I’m Apurva Choudhary, a senior at Poolesville High School in the Science Math and Computer Science Program. I learned piano at the Holliday Studio for five years, and have been taking piano lessons for about 10 years overall. Besides playing piano, I have been able to take part in various Tacy Foundation activities. I had the opportunity to play at Shady Grove Hospital weekly, play at various senior homes on a monthly basis.
 

Performing with the Tacy Foundation started out as a way for me to get my student service learning hours. However, it soon grew to be more than that - playing for the patients in the hospital and the seniors became something that I enjoyed, not just because I was playing music without the pressure to sound perfect, but because other people were enjoying what I had to offer. Before these performances, I didn’t like to play in public, and didn’t think I was very good at playing piano. However, seeing the joy and appreciation in the faces of those I played for gave me a newfound confidence in my skills as a pianist, and furthered my desire to continue helping others. Most importantly, my performances changed the way I viewed music. Now, I understand how essential music is to the mind and heart. It can help heal the sick, uplift a heavy heart, and even teach children, like myself, how to care for others selflessly.
 

I also volunteered as a teacher for Piano Pals, where I had the opportunity to teach piano to an elementary schooler who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to learn. It was one of the first times that I had ever really taught someone else something. While memories of that time have faded, I do remember the way I felt when my student mastered a song in his songbook, or when he identified a key without any hints from me. 
 

Besides playing piano, I also got several opportunities at the Tacy Foundation to reach out to the sick and to people far from their homes, fighting for their country. Some of these activities included recording songs, assembling CDs, and making cards. One that I specifically remember is the card I made for Governor Hogan when he began cancer treatment. Later, I was thrilled to hear from my mom that the Foundation had received a thank you note for the thoughts and music CDs.
 

To all those who start volunteering with the Tacy Foundation or anywhere else, I hope that your experiences helping others will shape you into the best version of you, as they are doing for me.

Alexander Yang

When my piano teacher first told me about the Tacy Foundation, I was somewhat indifferent, to be honest. Sure, volunteers play cool songs at a nearby hospital - is that all? However, actually volunteering there let me know there was a lot more I could do than what I initially thought. 

 

There's never an idle moment spent - student volunteers are bustling about, monitoring the sign-in sheet, boxing CDs to be shipped to hospitals nationwide, and conversing about their favorite musical works. I was amazed at the amount of work that was put in by this community; at first I was somewhat skeptical of their slogan of helping the disadvantaged youth, hospital patients, and senior citizens. However, after volunteering at Shady Grove Hospital, Shady Grove Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, and Asbury Methodist Village, I have come to truly understand its meaning. 

 

As a musician who has had a close relative who had temporarily resided in the Asbury Methodist Village, playing piano there was especially important to me. Through volunteering for the Tacy Foundation, I have learned the value of performing volunteer work to the disadvantaged. I highly encourage anyone with a musical background to become involved with this organization - All of the volunteer staff put in tremendous amounts of work to make this mission possible


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