McDowell Intermediate High School’s Little Theater was home to the Love Heals Concert May 26. The concert was run and organized by McDowell’s Exposure Club with help from Mary Bula, the lead facilitator of Erie Together, the region’s anti-poverty movement. The goal was to raise money for Erie Together’s Kindergarten Readiness program that aims to give underprivileged families the tools to prepare their children for kindergarten and beyond.
Erie Together reported that 51 percent of Erie children are not ready for kindergarten, so McDowell’s Exposure Club hoped their contribution to the program will help this number decrease.
The public was invited to watch student and community performances and enjoy a bake sale with all donations going to buy kindergarten readiness tool kits, which include books, letters, blocks, and worksheets. The annual concert since 2013, benefits a different group each year, with this year’s donations totalling $1,050.41. The money collected will help 40 local families.
The bake sale coordinator and Exposure Wall coordinator for next year, Zoe Levine says “I think the concert was very successful by helping so many families in the area, and it was a lot of fun to help with the bake sale, donations, and performing in the final poem.”
The acts varied from both McDowell and community talent. Previous McDowell students, and Exposure members Jenna Uhlig, Luke Weyand and Jack Rys came back to surprise the community with their talents of singing and dancing. Select singers from General McLane helped support the cause, as well.
Exposure’s President, Katie McLaughlin and Vice President Ben Ptak started the show with a video and kit presentation that explained how a kindergarten kit can make a difference in a child’s life.
Exposure member Elise Heinlein says, “Love heals is one of our favorite events to put on because it allows us to unite with our community and make a difference that impacts other people, not just the McDowell population.”