Student: Fundraiser 'Makes Me Feel Important'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Local community leaders in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn have launched a fundraiser to keep an after-school band available for students at I.S. 171.

“The budget’s been tighter and tighter and unfortunately, the band was one of the first things on the chopping block,” Larry Acosta told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman.

“I was shocked because I liked playing the flute and I think I was getting the hang of it,” said 11-year-old student Saul.

“It makes me feel sad because I won’t get to express myself through music,” another student told Silverman.

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reports

The school music program was defunded several years ago, but students were able to take part in an after-school band.

The instruments have been locked up since the school music program was cut.

“I graduated from [I.S.] 171 and we never had a band program,” said Acosta.

Acosta has been running an after-school band for the past two and a half years with the help of a local non-profit group, but the program ran out of money at the end of the last school year.

Acosta said he wanted to offer the students a chance to learn new skills, even if he had to do it on his own time.

The Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation set up a fundraiser, which has already pulled in nearly $3,000 to help keep the music program.

“I was shocked to hear about that myself,” Acosta told Silverman.

“Knowing that people are helping…it makes me feel important,” 12-year-old drummer Sebastian told Silverman.

In all, the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation said it hopes to raise $38,000 to help provide music education to students during the school day.

To learn more about the fundraising project or to donate to the cause, click here.

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