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What’s a teacher to do when she knows her students need supplies to grow and learn, but she doesn’t have the budget to buy them? Music teacher Sarah got creative. When she felt her students needed risers and a better sound system for their musical education program, she started to brainstorm ways to come up with the money to make it happen. That’s how the ‘Rise Up Project’ was born. With the help of a long-time friend, Sarah and her students produced a quality album and DVD of their singing to sell. Through the sale of the albums/DVDs as well as donations, they were able to afford their supplies and all learned valuable lessons along the way. Sarah also started a fundraiser for Huntington’s Disease in honor of her mother, called ‘Bar-2-Barbara’ – a 10k walk/run/bike ride to raise funds for HD research. The event also includes a “Dare Show” where Sarah and other volunteers complete outlandish dares in exchange for donations. She travels back to her small hometown in Iowa every summer to organize and host the event which has evolved into one of the nation’s largest individually organized fundraisers for the cause. Sarah makes a point to teach her students through her lessons and actions that when you believe in something, if you put your mind (and creativity) to work, anything is possible. She was inspired to go into music education due to the lasting impression of high school music teacher. She believes music education is about inspiring and nurturing the brain through creativity to build a happier, smarter generation for the world.


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