In the one year since its founding, the Pleasanton Schools Educational Enrichment (PSEE) Foundation has already made substantial progress towards its goal of helping the Pleasanton Unified School District make available to all students an interesting variety of art, music and science enrichment programs.
The year-old foundation's goals are impressive. They include improving, enhancing, and expanding programs in arts and science with instrumental and choral music programs, dance, multimedia and interactive media training along with science labs and programs.
New beginnings are happening this fall. The foundation, along with the PUSD, Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council and the City of Pleasanton is providing funds for an elementary school youth string program called Strings 2000. Music teacher Martie Muldoon has been hired by the district to teach the young players.
This is a first step towards a youth orchestra. Jerri Long, public information officer for the PUSD, says that fourth and fifth graders have a chance this year to try violin, viola and cello. "We have more than 300 students interested in the strings program. No child will be turned away who needs an instrument."
In addition, the program has already received 18 donated stringed instruments from community members.
Getting the foundation off to an excellent start was Seagate Technology, who made a $100,000 donation. Other support has come from Robert Half International; Girard & Vinson, Attorneys at Law; parents clubs at Valley View, Harvest Park, Donlon Elementary, and Mohr Elementary; the Intel Foundation; and many other donors.
Volunteer leadership is the key to the foundation's success. Volunteer president Denise Watkins and treasurer Mike Faber are at the center of this endeavor. Watkins took on the reins of the foundation after recently retiring with 18 years in the telecommunications field. She has extensive experience in software/systems engineering and management and is the mother of three children in the Pleasanton public schools. Faber has been a highly successful owner of a large company. He and his wife have five children who have attended Pleasanton public schools. He is also an active schools volunteer.
Long says that PSEE has the goal of raising $10 to $15 million to be used to establish a perpetual endowment fund. "The income generated will be used to support programs that are not funded through other sources."
Long is enthusiastic about the foundation. "It will restore and expand arts programs for children in grades K-12, so no matter how state finances fluctuate, we can sustain the programs."
Long notes that there are still many opportunities for businesses to get involved.
"This is an exciting and ambitious program, and Denise and Mike are willing to go and talk to any company that may have gift-giving foundations to explain to them why they might want to invest in this foundation," said Long.
PSEE and the school district are also looking for donations of stringed instruments such as violins, violas, or cellos which could be used in the Strings 2000 program. Volunteers are also needed to help tune instruments at the beginning of each class. If you have even a little musical experience, and 10 minutes to spare, consider helping get classes started in tune. Call Martie Muldoon, at (925) 461-7889 ext. 47.
PSEE is an all-volunteer organization and has the ultimate goal of keeping expenses at one to two percent of money collected so that almost all donations will go towards programs for children.
On the Advisory Council are Jim Negri, Pleasanton Unified School District; Charlotte Severin, Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council and Mike Moran, PUSD parent and Foothill Band Booster member.
For additional information on PSEE, contact Denise Watkins at (925) 485-1964 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org . The group's web site can also be accessed from www.pleasanton.k12.ca.us/communitypartners/ .
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