ProjectMusic was founded by the Michelson family of Glencoe—Dan, Kim, Emma (12) and Ian (10)— to raise money to fund summer camp experiences for LYDIA Home Association orphans.

One hundred percent of the funds are raised by an annual concert and from other efforts are spent on camp fees.

“We are motivated by the Martha Mead saying, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has,'” says co-founder Kim Michelson

“For many years, our family volunteered at the LYDIA Home every month,” Michelson says. “We wanted to do more for the beautiful children living at the home. The orphanage management strongly recommended that the children would benefit from leaving the concrete jungle of the city for the peaceful serenity of camp each year.

“In creating ProjectMusic, we felt it was important to create an incredibly fun event where 100 percent of the proceeds supported the mission. We decided to charge the same amount for a ticket to the ProjectMusic concert as it costs to send a child to camp each year—$200. Donors appreciate that their donation is going explicitly to the cause and that they are directly helping a child in need.

Please tell us a favorite success story of yours.

“In 2009, there was a boy who was terrified of the high ropes course at camp,” Michelson says. “He tried three different times to do the challenge. Finally, on this third attempt, he went all the way up and across the rope—aided by cheering and encouragement from the other campers and staff on the ground. The sense of accomplishment lit up his face once he was done!

“This might seem simple, but for a child who has been through so much pain, the ropes course represents more. It can feel as challenging as facing their past and moving forward to heal. As the kids conquer their fears, they are able to gain self-esteem and realize that maybe there are other fears or obstacles in their lives they can overcome as well.

What else do you love about your work with Lydia Home and ProjectMusic?

“ProjectMusic has enabled us to create something greater than ourselves; this has nourished our spirit and enabled us to inch closer to our goal of raising compassionate children,” Michelson says. “ProjectMusic comes from an idea and the fact that we took action on it. We are all capable of making this world a better place. It is often the ordinary people who make a difference in our world every day.”

ProjectMusic by the numbers:

  • 2008: $14,973 raised
  • 2009: $27,890 raised
  • 2010: $31,896 raised
  • 2011: $39,400 raised
  • 2012: $44,292 raised
  • Five Year Total = $158,451 raised
  • 80 children from LYDIA Home were sent to summer camp in 2012
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