The annual Holiday Jam and Toy Drive provides the opportunity for the university community and surrounding community to share the holiday spirit with one another, enjoy holiday-themed performances from student organizations, and support communities in need through outreach initiatives. This year, the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students is partnering with the YWCA of Princeton and Little Wound High School in South Dakota on two holiday outreach initiatives.
During the Holiday Jam and Toy Drive, attendees will have the opportunity to donate toys to the YWCA Princeton’s St. Nicholas Project, an organization which aims to help local families in the Princeton-area. For those interested in donating, jaZams will be offering a 20% discount for anyone purchasing a gift for the toy drive. Click here to read more about the St. Nicholas Project and how you can get involved with their work beyond the Holiday Jam!
For our second holiday outreach initiative, we’re supporting the music classroom at Little Wound High School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. With the help of Little Wound’s music teacher, Jon Caponetto, and Princeton University alumna Anna Almore ’08, this effort will strengthen the music education program by fulfilling their classroom’s wish list.
Read more about Jon and his music classroom below:
The music classroom at Little Wound High School is unlike any other thing seen on the Pine Ridge reservation. It is the first music classroom to have been at Little Wound in over 20 years and is striving to give students a new understanding of the world that they did not have the chance to see before. I have always wanted to teach music and getting the chance to live out my dream has been the best thing to have ever happened to me. I want to be able to show the beautiful world of music to my students in hopes that they too may want to explore it and make a career out of it. So far this year, the music classes have seen some successes such as 3 band students were accepted into the Region 7 Honor Band. This honor band allowed them to travel in the state to perform with other high school musicians of high caliber. In addition to being named into the honor band, the students were named among the top instrumentalists at the event where two of them were placed as first or principal chairs of their sections. A huge growth I have seen in many of my students is their confidence and willingness to leave their comfort zones to do something they like doing. Many students were so afraid to play or sing that I couldn’t get much out of them, but as the term has gone on, they are so much more open and talkative. It is a really beautiful moment to see them become their own people. Music has really touched the lives of so many people here at Little Wound, and I am excited to see how it touches more as time goes on.