A trip to London to dance in the Olympics was a bittersweet experience for Rye middle school student Julia Laber this summer.
While she was thrilled with the opportunity, several girls from her dance group from Harrison's New York Dance school, had to skip the trip because they could not afford it, despite extensive fundraising efforts.
“These are special things, special people, it’s a sport and effort and it was a huge honor for girls to be in London,” Julia’s mom, Carmela Laber, said. The Laber family was disappointed by what seemed to be a lack of support for the arts.
Carmela and her husband Stan Laber, a professional musician, decided that it was finally time to do something they had envisioned 11 years ago, start a non-profit organization that would bring attention and donations to struggling arts programs.
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“We are very lucky to live in Rye. It is a very affluent community, but there are still people here in our communities who are struggling,” Carmela said
The Laber Foundation strives to raise money for struggling programs, and eventually promote the arts through their own programs like movement classes, art galleries and other events like an annual gala. The organization is run by three board members, the Labers and Harrison resident, instrumentalist and singer Jenifer Ricci.
The foundation’s kick off fundraiser will be on Sept. 29 at St. Thomas Church at 168 West Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck, NY. All funds will go towards the St. Thomas children’s choir to buy new drums and to Our Lady of Fatima in Yonkers, to help them keep their arts and music program this school year. Our Lady of Fatima is at risk of closing down and the Laber’s hope their contribution can help them stay afloat. The event will also feature The New York Vagabonds with Kat Citron, Julia Laber and Jennifer Ricci.
The Laber Foundation hopes to hold bake sales and other fund-raising events throughout the year.
“It is about raising the money and awareness. It is heartbreaking to find out programs are getting cut but great to do something positive about it,” Carmela said.