The Music Doesn’t Stop
Coping with COVID
On March 16th, FAME closed its doors as Maryland went into a shutdown due to the corona virus pandemic. FAME staff spent just one week putting together the FAME Online Learning platform so that we could continue providing service to our youth.
Distance learning has moved education to the home—exposing the inequalities of access to technology both in terms of equipment and the Internet—resulting in students struggling with their studies. FAME embarked on a mission to provide technology equipment and service for all of its students.
This pandemic has resulted in many lost jobs, shuttered businesses, and an overall increase of financial stress and uncertainty in our community. Sadly, our students are feeling this stress as well. FAME is closing the equipment gap by providing each student with a computer and music technology equipment to level the playing field. This technology will facilitate faster and easier access to all FAME Online Learning sessions (music & academic) and also help students participate more effectively in their school distance learning classes.
FAME was fortunate to receive grants from United Parcel Service (UPS), Pepco-an Exelon Company & The Lewis Prize, that made it possible to provide each student with a custom set of technology to meet their individual needs. Students completed a survey to share the equipment they already owned, which allowed FAME’s tech team to gauge what they may need. Equipment was then ordered, inventoried, labeled, and packed for distribution to students. Each student was assigned a day and time to pick up their new equipment! Joy immediately filled the students’ faces as they realized that they can now learn and create without financial burden of purchasing technology that once held them back.
To ensure that students can participate in their classes and FAME programming, FAME also covers the cost of Internet service for some students who did not have access to it.
Planning, logistics and technology support were provided by Langston Hughes II and Julian W. Wilson — Two FAME Jazz Band Program Alumni and current students at Howard University (Langston) and Berklee College of Music (Julian).