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Gold Award Project Interview with Elizabeth Bryan


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We were delighted to interview 2014 Girl Scout Gold Award recipient, Elizabeth Bryan, about her inspiring project!

Describe your project for us.
My project was a sort of donation drive for musical instruments for low-income students that couldn't afford to buy or rent one of their own. Mr. Schlabach, the band/choir director at Meadow Park Middle School, was my project adviser, and the instruments donated went to the Meadow Park band program. I collected about 40 instruments from May 2013-October 2013, they were fixed and assessed by Tigard Music in winter 2014, and the instruments will go to MP for the 2014-2015 school year.

Why did you choose this project?
During my freshman year of high school, as I was brainstorming ideas for my gold award, my younger brother was in sixth grade and joined band at Cedar Park MS. He mentioned at some point, October maybe, that some of the kids in his band class had had to drop out because they couldn't afford to buy or rent instruments (Cedar Park, like Meadow Park and most other Beaverton School District (SD) schools, has very few "school" instruments and they are in very poor condition - keys missing, etc.). I've been involved in school band up through my sophomore year, I've played in the Portland Youth Philharmonic Association since freshman year, and I now do choir at school - so obviously music has been a very important part of my life. It seemed like a big problem to me that some kids weren't allowed that opportunity. So I approached Mr. Schlabach to see if he was interested in being my project adviser, and my project grew from there.

Did you learn anything you didn't expect from completing the project?
I was surprised about how many instruments I received, honestly. I knew some people that had instruments in their closets that they hadn't played for years, but wasn't sure about the general public. So it was great when I got over 40.

Is your project still impacting the community?
In December 2013, I met Laurel Bookhardt at a Christmas party. She is part of the Music Task Force for Beaverton SD and the Beaverton Friends of Music and as I was explaining my project to her, she seemed very interested. As it turned out, many of the members of the task force were also there and they all seemed very interested in possibly taking up my project after I was finished. I met with the entire task force several times throughout the spring and it was finally decided that Beaverton Friends of Music would join with me and the Beaverton Education Foundation (BEF) to continue my project.

"Beaverton Band Together," as the project was called, launched in early June, spearheaded mostly by me, Laurel, Kristine Baggett (head of BEF), and some other members of the task force. You can read about it on the following sites:
Beaverton Friends of Music at http://www.musiceducationmatters.org/wordpress/?p=1467.
Beaverton Education Foundation at http://beavertonedfoundation.org/band-together-beaverton-instrument-donation-program/.
Interview by local newspaper at http://www.pamplinmedia.com/bvt/15-news/224011-85465-band-instrument-donation-program-gains-momentum (an interview with me, Laurel, Kristine, & Mr. Schlabach).

Updates on the Beaverton Band Together project: At last email sent out, almost a month ago, a little over 60 instruments had been collected. More recently, Kristine got a matching grant from the Starseed Foundation up to $3500 ($7000 once it's been matched), which we are very close to meeting!