June, 2015

Dear Play It Forward,

My name is Damen Martin and I teach instrumental music at Grand Center Arts Academy. I recently came in contact with Play It Forward through a parent of one of my orchestra students. My need for instruments made its way to the ears of John Carney and in turn, was helped out with my current instrumental needs.

What a GREAT experience it was working with Samantha Fisher! From the moment I spoke with her, I knew I was in good hands. She was very interested in my group and our progress as a school. This was truly above and beyond anything I expected.

My students were bursting at the seams to see all the gently loved instruments make their way into the room. I have never seen wider eyes! You truly have changed lives due to the wonderful work you do. Instruments are really expensive and music is becoming a back burner event in most schools. As this happens, the need increases all over for instruments and the funds to get instruments.


Mr. Damen L. Martin
Instrumental Director
Grand Center Arts Academy

May 19, 2015

Dear Ms. Samantha Fisher,

My name is ____________ and l’m so thankful that you donated this amazing Armstrong flute to me. When I first saw it I was so happy and excited I shrieked over three times. I couldn’t wait to play it. The way the flute sounds is so nice and clear. It’s the best flute that I have ever played. I can’t thank you enough for what you have done for me. I will take care of My Armstrong flute to the best of my abilities. I also promise to become a better flutist in honor of you giving me the first flute that I can call my own. You gave me the best gift that anyone could ever give me.

May 1, 2015

Dear Sam:

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for all you have done for the kids at Cardinal Glennon and the community of St. Louis.

In addition, thank you for taking the time to donate the Tim McGraw guitar to one of our patients. What perfect timing it was that you were able to come down to the hospital and bring the guitar for Jessica on what turned out to be her last birthday. Your kindness created a special moment for Jessica in times of struggle and one that her mother will never forget.

On a separate note, your donation of musical instruments for our relief group, the St. Lou Crew for Joplin, made an incredible impact on Joplin High School’s Eagle Pride Band who lost all of their instruments in the tornado. Because of you they were able to hold band practice during the summer while they were rebuilding their program.

Thank you for being a great friend to the community of St. Louis!

Rose Fogarty
Director of Marketing
Cardinal Glennon Children’s Foundation

Monday, April 30, 2015

Dear Fellow Supporter of Music Education:

I cannot speak highly enough of the work that Samantha Fisher, via Play It Forward, has done for the youth of Saint Louis. She shares my philosophy that every child deserves the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, a belief in the extraordinary power music can play in children’s lives, and a passion for making the impossible possible for at-risk youth.

Play It Forward has donated approximately $8,500 worth of used instruments to the students of East St. Louis School District 189. Most of our students do not own their own instruments. Our district does provide instruments for most interested students, but along with repairs, event registration fees, bus transporation to events, band uniform laundering, little money is left in the annual fine arts budget for purchasing additional instruments. These donations filled a much needed void in our already established band program, and complemented our larger music program in new ways. Most of the donated instruments were in good playing condition, requiring no repairs. All were good quality instruments, most student models, some intermediate models. Additional flutes, clarinets, alto saxophones, trumpets and trombones allow our band students to have an instrument to take home and practice each night, furthering their musical ability. Electric pianos, guitars and bass guitars were an unforseen blessing, allowing me to provide a hands-on experience to students in our Music Appreciation elective class.

Ms. Fisher is an advocate for music education beyond the tangible blessings she has bestowed on the music students of East St. Louis and countless others across the St. Louis region. Play It Forward’s presence in St. Louis is proclaimed through her Facebook posts of newly connected instruments with tenacious music students, TV spots on local networks and partnerships with local establishments for events to benefit Play It Forward. I am glad to have such a passionate ally in the endeavor to keep music in every child’s education. I look forward to the years ahead and the countless lives Play It Forward will benefit.

John Barnes
Band Director
East St. Louis Sr. High School
Ninth Grade Center

A Thank You Letter

[ Last Sunday PIF via the STL Rams sent 20 kids to the football game. And the Rams WON!! Super cool!! ]

They had a BLAST! It was such a great game for them to experience, we’re so grateful for your support!


October16, 2014

Dear Ms. Fischer:

Thank you for reaching out to St. Vincent Home for Children and donating tickets to the October 19, 2014 Rams vs. Seahawks game. Our kids are truly grateful for the experience and your support!

At St. Vincent, every child is unique in their talents and needs. Your contributions and support are critical to our ability to provide highly individualized services to our families. As a result, in 2013 97% of youth served demonstrated improved wellbeing, and remained at home with no out­ of-home placements in foster care or the juvenile justice system.

If you would like more information about St. Vincent and its programs, our website is www.saintvincenthome.org.

Again, thanks for your support of the children and families St. Vincent Home for Children serves.

Carla A. Monroe-Posey, PhD, LCSW, MSHA Executive Director

June 2014
One Hope United is a not-for-profit human service organization that provides a diverse array of services with the mission of protecting children from abuse and neglect, strengthening their families, and preparing those children for a prosperous future.

Thanks to Play It Forward STL, we have recently added music therapy groups to the list of ways we provide treatment to the residents in the Centralia, IL residential program.

We told Play It Forward STL about our program and gave them a wish list of instruments that would help us get started. They got right to work and very quickly presented us with nine guitars so that we could begin music therapy in one of our homes! Not only that, but they are continuing to find donations that match our wish list! Play It Forward STL is AWESOME!!!

Dylan Taylor
Mental Health Professional, Shift Lead Youth Care Worker

A Thank You Letter

May 29th 2014
Dear Samantha,

Thank you so much for helping jump-start the music program at JTC Academy. We had a really successful year and the students were so grateful for the keyboards you got us. We appreciate the work you are doing for schools like JTC and others, who simply cannot afford the instruments for a music program.

Thanks for all that you do,

Vanity K. Gee

April 14, 2014
Dear Play It Forward,

I can not thank you enough. The students looked so professional with their new snare stands! Every Kid had an Instrument and its accompanying hardware! Pics are on the way for ya’!

All praises due.

Issac Cherry
Urban Future

March 12 , 2014
Dear Play It Forward,

Thanks for the violin for the girls, they have been playing by ear since they got it of which goes to prove their desire to string melodic words into the atmosphere.

A Thank You Letter

October 4, 2010
Dear Neighbor and Community Partner,

We want to extend our sincerest gratitude toward you for your generous donation of your most important asset, your time. At Imagine Academy of Careers Middle School We believe in our students’ success and understand the importance of establishing strong community partnerships to support their success.

Each team member would like to thank you for your interest and participation with our students during your visit to campus last month. Your recent visit has generated numerous questions, comments and responses of interest regarding your industry. After your departure, not only were questions answered insightfully, but our students displayed a broader knowledge of the opportunities that lay in wait of them.

Please know we want this to become a reoccurring annual event. We have received overwhelming feedback on your presence and its’ impact. Again, it was tremendous to have your support concerning our efforts as educators here with the population we serve. Thank you for sharing your valuable talent and time, it was greatly appreciated.

Mr. Walter Collie Jr., Interim Principal
Imagine Academy of Careers Middle School

September, 2010
Dear Samantha,

Thank you and PLAY IT FORWARD for all your efforts in putting together a five (5) guitar donation to the Strings Attached project. Your donations make it possible for deserving youth to have instruments to take home and practice their music lesson material.

Our efforts in helping youth become musically literate and to have a foundation in St. Louis music history would not be possible without generous help such as yours.

Thank you for all you do for so many youth here in St. Louis and surrounding neighborhoods.

With sincere appreciation,
Steve Housewright
The Strings Attached project

A Thank You Letter

Wyland Elementary School is located in Overland, Missouri, and is part of the Ritenour School District. The student population of Wyland Elementary is approximately 480 highly diverse students (5% Asian, 29% Black, 11% Hispanic, .7% Indian, and 53% White). 63% of Wyland Elementary students qualify for free and reduced lunches. Most Wyland families are of lower and lower middle class economic status. The rich cultural diversity represented by the student population of Wyland Elementary provides a fertile atmosphere for learning. Students come to Wyland with many varying musical traditions, but with few opportunities to develop and expand those traditions. For most Wyland students, school is the only opportunity they have for organized music making and learning. Enthusiasm for music making and learning at Wyland Elementary School is high on the part of students, and the surrounding community is appreciative of our efforts. The Ritenour School District is supportive of the arts in general, but they are similar to many other smaller districts with limited financial resources; the dollars have to be stretched among a wide variety of programs. While I am appreciative of what the Ritenour School District is able to provide, it really does not meet the needs and the potential of our diverse enthusiastic music makers. Our students have a very solid foundation in singing and moving, but lack the critical experiences of classroom instrumental music such as those exemplified by Carl Orff’s philosophy*.

For most Wyland students, music is a haven from the federal mandates of increased achievement. Although research clearly supports the importance of the role of the arts in increasing academic achievement, Wyland students know it as a place where they can express and celebrate who they are. When I meet students in the halls of Wyland and they ask “Do we get to come to Music today?” it tells me what an important part of the school day my classes are. On many occasions I have stated that I feel I have the best job in the world because I get to work with great kids sharing what I love to do best! Wyland is filled with great kids who really deserve the best musical experiences possible. Any effort to help students at Wyland is a sound investment in the future!

Lori Scissors
Wyland Elementary Music Specialist
Ritenour School District

Thank you so very much for your donation of nearly 30 instruments to our program! In the single year since its inception, Orchestrating Diversity has witnessed an incredible expansion in both capacity and results. This growth has coincided with a remarkably weakened economy, producing a climate where funding is hard to come by at all levels. Indeed our budget has operated at a bare minimum of its needs thus far; Orchestrating Diversity succeeds only through the very passionate and enthusiastic support of the community as in-kind support accounts for nearly 2/3 of our budget. It is through such support from agencies like Play It Forward that Saint Louis may boast progressive and effective programs such as Orchestrating Diversity as part of its landscape and heritage. Keep making great things possible.

Mark Sarich, Jesse Windels, Max Woods, Kory Lyles
Orchestrating Diversity

May 1, 2010
Dear Samantha,

I am writing to express my deep appreciation for the charitable contributions made to Carnahan High School through the Play It Forward foundation. The instruments we received have made it possible for me to increase the enrollment of students in our instrumental music classes and replace instruments in disrepair.

As an advocate for the arts, I’m sure that you are aware of the vital role that music plays in education. When I began teaching at Carnahan 4 years ago, we had virtually no instruments to provide students. We have relied almost exclusively on donations throught organizations like yours to give students the opportunity to learn how to play an instrument. Many groups have offered help but few have answered the call.

Most of the trumpets, trombones, clarinet, flute, saxophone and percussion equipment we received from Play It Forward have been given to students in my beginning band class. When I brought in the cases to tell students that we had received some new instruments the were ecstatic. Students became excited about playing and motivated to practice more.

Please know that we sincerely appreciate the gift of music you are providing to our students. I trust that the accompanying letters from students themselves will demonstrate how important these instruments are to them. I hope that you will be able to visit us soon so that you can see and hear the way your instruments are being used.

G. Allen Stith
Carnahan High School of the Future
Music Department

A Thank You Letter

March 31,2010
Dear Samantha,

Kratz Elementary wishes to express our appreciation for the violins donated by the “Play It Forward” organization. We are a school in which many parents cannot afford the extra cost of buying or renting instruments. I’m so happy to be able to now provide an experience for students lives to be touched by another type of musical experience that would not have been possible without the support of your organization. Kratz elementary thanks you.

Deb Harder
Music Specialist
Kratz Elementary

March 19,2010
To Whom It May Concern:

Please accept this letter as my full support for the John V. Rudebeck Foundation, a nonfor- profit organization with the incredible “Play It Forward” program. This foundation was created with the belief that no child shall be denied his or her musical voice. It is my hope that all children in the St. Louis community have every chance to explore their musical passion.

I applaud the mission of this foundation to provide musical instruments and tutelage to children whose parents (or guardians) and schools are unable to incur the costs associated with musical education. Through the foundation, with the help of the “Play It Forward” program the aim is to provide these children with musical instruments, sheet music, instrument accessories, lessons, and opportunities to perform for other children in grade school and high schools in the St. Louis community. Again, I fully support this wonderful program.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Lewis E. Reed
President, City of St. Louis Board of Aldermen

A Thank You Letter

November 19, 2009
Dear Ms. Brogan,

To the members and organizers of the “Play It Forward” music donation program, I want to personally thank you for all of the efforts to collect, repair, and distribute musical instruments to qualifying schools. Hazelwood Central Middle was a recipient of several items. The instruments are being put to good use by our teachers and students. Here is one letter of endorsement by our Orchestra teacher, Laura Huhn.

“Thanks to Play It Forward I will soon be able to start a guitar class here at Hazelwood Central Middle School! The children have been begging for a guitar class for years and we just didn’t have the resources to purchase the instruments. I hope to get the class started ASAP… We are so much closer to our goal thanks to Play It Forward.”

Laura B. Huhn
Director of Orchestras
Hazelwood Central Middle School