Young Imaginations was founded in 1987 as a non-profit that aimed to bring multi-cultural music and dance into public schools and especially underserved public schools. The staff at young imaginations work with public schools in Marin County, California to set up programs that last 6-8 weeks. All the programs are tailored to the school’s specific needs, wants, and facilities. Programs consist of dance and music classes in which an experienced teaching artist visits the same class regularly each week for about 30-45 minutes to teach the students music through a specific instrument or various types of multi-cultural dances.
“We had a really fascinating class that was taught by one of our teaching artists and she would bring in her butterfly harp from China, it was wonderful,” said Ron Tarica, the Treasurer and Business Manager for Young Imaginations since 1997, “We have all sorts of classes ranging from music to dance- we even had someone come in and teach the students hip-hop.”
The number of schools that the folks at Young Imaginations work with ranges anywhere from five to twenty at a time, depending on how the fundraising climate is that year. Since the pandemic hit in March of 2020, like many non-profits, Young Imaginations had to make drastic adjustments.
“When the lockdowns began in March, our programs stopped altogether. Our administrative director worked with some of the schools to set up a virtual version of our program and we were able to offer a virtual dance class for students in the fall” explained Tarica.
Young Imaginations is a small organization but Tarica says that he had been doing the payroll manually for years before he signed on with Payroll Systems. “You’ve served us really well, each person we’ve worked with on your end has been quite good. We got to know about Payroll Systems because of another non-profit my wife and I were involved with used you guys and put us in touch with you.” Said Tarica, “Since switching to Payroll Systems it has been a big load off my mind.”
The company has built up a network over the years with various teaching artists- all with their own unique expertise in many different areas of artistry. And although this pandemic has hit everyone hard, they are hopeful that once it is safe again to do so, that they will continue to increase their programs.
For now, Tarica says “It will be a never-ending effort on our part to fundraise for our programs so we can continue to bring these art and music classes to as many schools as possible.”
For more information on the programs offered by Young Imaginations or how to donate, visit http://www.youngimaginations.org/