This creative fundraising event connects young musicians for a worthy cause. Emily and Lauren Kam started YMW in 2013 and have hosted it for 4 years in a row.
Emily and her older sister Lauren started Young Musicians Workshop the summer after Emily finished 7th grade. They have both been playing violin and piano for many years and especially love playing in quartets. Emily plays viola as well. “We wanted to use our gifts and abilities to help others,” Emily shared.
New for YMW 2016
Since Lauren left for college this year, Emily took full charge of the camp and introduced some new elements. She loves singing, so she added a choir to the camp. Also, instead of having the final performance in their home as in past years, she decided to take the campers to perform at a senior center. “We were able to bless the local community as well,” Emily reflected. This is the recording of them singing "Give Us Hope," a song chosen for its fun and catchy tune, and also for its lyrics, which fit perfectly with the purpose of YMW: to give hope to others.
Rallying the Community
Through YMW, Emily has successfully engaged other high school students from the community. The YMW teachers are all friends from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Pre-College and from the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra. One of the teachers has served all 4 years, and several others have served at least 2 years.
The students come from different homeschool groups and music teachers. The Kam sisters also teach piano, so some of their own students attend the workshop. Many of the YMW students have come two or three years in a row, and some also refer their friends.
Each day at Young Musicians Workshop, the students receive private music lessons, practice a duet or quartet, enjoy musical crafts, games, and snacks, learn about a composer and music theory, and participate in choir. Playing in a duet or quartet teaches the students how to work together, a skill which they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
More Than Melodies
The goal of YMW is not just to teach and perform music—it’s to raise money for a Transparent Fish Fund project. The students develop not only the lifelong skill of teamwork but also the heart to give. For the past 3 years, the camp has raised funds to build houses in rural Vietnam. So far they have sponsored 4 houses.
Children Helping Children
This year, Emily learned that the Chinese government was not fully funding heart surgeries in Gansu anymore. As a result, many more children needed help from Little Red Scarf. Emily decided to raise funds for Jing Chuan, a 1-year-old boy who needed a $1850 subsidy to have heart surgery. “I wanted to choose a child so that the students in the camp could see that they were helping another child,” said Emily.
We celebrate with Emily and the YMW that they successfully raised the full amount needed to sponsor Jing Chuan’s heart surgery! Many thanks for their great support.
A Four-Way Win
Emily says that YMW is the highlight of her summer. “It is an amazing experience to plan for this camp and then see it come together in such a productive and rewarding week, a week filled with joy and a week dedicated to a family in Asia. YMW is a win-win-win-win situation. The teachers are blessed, the students are blessed, the elderly in my community are blessed, and families across the globe are blessed. I am so thankful that we are able to spread hope in our own small, but significant way.”
If you’re inspired by the Kam sisters, find out how you can make a difference in the local and global community too!
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