Activism that Resonates
Posted Jun 11, 2010 by Sarah Koch
A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to meet someone in person who inspires me on Causes. Tom Holt is a graduating senior from high school who started the cause Save School Music! and has spent the last couple years bringing together almost 180,000 people who all believe music is a vital part of school curriculum.
Causes allows anyone — an activist or a nonprofit employee — to start a cause about an issue they believe in. Most of the people who I work with are nonprofit employees who have a set number of hours and resources dedicated to advancing their nonprofits’ missions. Tom Holt is different. Tom is an activist unaffiliated with any nonprofit, who saw an issue that needed to be changed and decided to do something about it. Tom started the cause, Save School Music! (www.causes.com/saveschoolmusic) and has since grown the cause to almost 180,000 people who also value and want to preserve school music programs. Through email updates, personal stories and compelling media, Tom has provided these supporters with a way to become educated and get involved.
Months after Tom created Save School Music!, MENC: The National Association for Music Education found the cause. Tom selected MENC as the beneficiary on the cause and they were floored by how many people he had amassed on his own who believed in their mission. They thanked Tom, talked about his experience with the cause and started planning things they could do together with this great community of supporters. Still, MENC wanted to do more to make sure Tom knew the importance of what he had done.
On May 14, I drove up to Westminster, MD, with three staff members from MENC and surprised Tom at his end-of-the-year band banquet. MENC presented Holt with an MENC medallion and the President’s Volunteer Service Award, an official recognition of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. Established in 2003, this program recognizes the valuable contributions volunteers make in their communities, including encouraging more people to volunteer.
Tom is truly a leader in the movement to preserve music education and I hope that as he moves on to college we can continue to work together to advance the cause!