A year ago, after 20 years of directing homeschool choirs and 7 years of independently teaching orchestral strings in the farmworker town of Biola, I started the 501(c)(3) called “Inspire One Foundation” to build bridges across socioeconomic and cultural barriers through cooperative participation in the arts.
The name “Inspire One” stemmed from a call God put on my life during a visit to India 30 years before. There, I found myself overwhelmed by the needs of the people I saw around me – dead persons lying on the side of the street, mothers with blind and crippled infants they had purposely injured in order to earn more money begging. I questioned God as to what I could possibly do to make a difference, and He spoke to my heart, saying, “Love the one I put in front of you.” Inspire One.
For the past 20 years the people He has put in front of me have been the children of the San Joaquin Valley. When my employer closed its doors last year, I offered to God what seemed to be just loaves and fishes (my ability to teach string instruments and choir), and asked how they might be used to make a difference for the children he brought before me. I believe the answer is to use the creative arts to build healthy relationships between children from all backgrounds so that their fears are alleviated, and friendships are fostered.
The vision was realized this past year as I taught string orchestra to children from all over the Valley. I had 55 students in the Biola String Orchestra and 21 in the Homeschool students’ orchestra. They proudly performed together at three events last year.
Joining them were the other creative arts groups of Inspire One, including: 6 choirs, dance, handbells, photography, art, private music lessons, and visual sound (sign language).
My vision is to teach parallel curriculum at all sites so that we can do something beautiful and inspiring together – performances are given regularly at concerts, luncheons or fundraising events for other charities.
We currently have programs in Biola and at Campus Bible Church, our site for homeschoolers from around the Valley. This coming year we hope to add two or three new sites, attracting additional local communities. I look forward with great anticipation to being part of many more children’s lives! Thank you for the privilege.
– Licia K. Clark, Director