Opinion

VOLUNTEER VIEW: BAAY enriching lives of children through the arts

Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth was established in 2006 and had about 110 volunteers in 2014.

Purpose: Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth, known as BAAY, seeks to enrich the lives of children through the exploration of the arts. We accomplish this purpose through our three programs: EduArts, our after-school enrichment program currently taking place at 10 elementary and middle schools across Whatcom County; Bellingham Preschool of the Arts, our arts-focused preschool; and the BAAY Campus, a 120-seat theater in the heart of downtown Bellingham where our music, theater, voice, art and dance programs take place. Our robust community-backed scholarship fund allows us to extend our programs to every child who can follow our basic rules that support our environment of creativity and love.

Volunteer highlights: Recently the Kiwanis Club of Bellingham worked with BAAY for its centennial anniversary celebration: 24 hours of service. From midnight until 2 a.m. on Jan. 21, nearly a dozen members of the club joined BAAY staff to organize BAAY’s prop room, hardware rack and main hall. Their work ethic and spirit of giving was inspiring; in two short hours they accomplished all of our goals and more, and they had fun doing it. BAAY is incredibly thankful to the Bellingham Kiwanis for their service.

Signature fundraiser: BAAY show galas are held at our theater to celebrate each of our productions. The $25 tickets to the events include champagne, hors d’oeuvres, live music, and of course, the show itself! Come to our gala for BAAY’s production of Little Shop of Horrors at 6 p.m., Saturdays, May 9, for cast 1, and May 23 for cast 2. Our theater is located at 1059 N. State St.

Wish list: A new computer for the office, loaded with current software; a marquee sign for the building; two 30-inch flat screen TVs and DVD players; a grand drape curtain for the theater; a powerful LED projector; a new spotlight for the theater.

Volunteer needs: Receptionists, architect consultant services to optimize the use of our space, labor and expertise of a contractor to remodel our bathrooms, painting services for our floors throughout the building, services of a piano technician to repair two of our pianos.

For more information, go online to baay.org.

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