• Fundraiser this weekend for local student arts charity


    Orange County, Fla. - It's been proven that students who participate in the arts do better in school and as Channel 9's Karla Ray learned, a local charity is depending on a fundraiser this weekend to try to make sure every student has that opportunity.

    Ocoee High School senior Akeima Young works on the drums at least an hour a day, something she's had a passion for for the past nine years.

    "Sometimes, when you don't know how to express how you're feeling, I think music is a way to get that out," she said.

    Participating in band can be expensive, but the Hapco Foundation out of Oakland makes it possible for many of the students.

    "Our mission is keeping music arts alive for our youth, as far as making sure they have access to all types of art," said Hapco CEO Joseph McMullen.

    One of the group's main fundraisers, the Sunshine Jazz Festival, is scheduled for Saturday, and part of the money raised will pay for student scholarships and equipment.

    Those involved said the funding is especially important because research shows students who participate in the arts also do better in other subjects.

    One study shows students involved in the arts outperform their peers in SAT scores and were more likely to go to college.

    For Young, it's a skill she plans to use well beyond her graduation, and she acknowledges it wouldn't be possible without help.

    "And I think people who are willing to donate their time and money to help students that need help and need funding," she said, "I think it's important and it makes a difference."

    Saturday's concert at Ocoee High School starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $20 for adults.

    One dollar from each ticket goes back to the Ocoee band.

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