PING! urges Oak Park residents to think about the value of the performing arts to our children and our community as they decide their vote for the upcoming District 97 referendum.

The benefits of instrumental music education in the elementary grades are clear. Numerous studies show the link between studying music and academic achievement, demonstrated through improved reading, math and verbal abilities. Playing in a band or orchestra also teaches teamwork and discipline. Students feel part of a larger community by being in the band or orchestra, which can mean the difference between being happy in school or disengaging. District 97 has exceptional elementary and middle school music programs. The foundation that students receive prepares them in many ways and results in an appreciation of the arts that can last a lifetime.

PING! (Providing Instruments for the Next Generation) loans instruments to low-income students in our community so they have access to this exceptional opportunity. At PING! we see the transformative effect of music in these children’s lives every day. One parent told us, “Music is giving my daughter more self-assurance and an identity.” If the District 97 referendum does not pass, elementary instrumental music will be eliminated. Grade school children will be denied these experiences, and the middle school and high school music programs will deteriorate without the strong foundation provided in the elementary schools.

Oak Park has always understood the value of the arts in the life of an individual and our community. We have stood behind that belief in the school programming we fund. The PING! board urges everyone to continue to stand behind the arts and vote yes for the District 97 referendum on April 5.

Donna D’Oro Anderson, Brenda Barnes Jamieson, Elinor Crane, Jerre Cusick, Helen Gullo, Barbara Hickey, Pat Inman, Beth Isaacs, Carrie Kalina, Marge Michalski, Tuny Mokrauer, Darla Patterson, Susan Parks, Nadine Peacock,

Lynn Taylor and Judy Weik
Oak Park

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