Voices of Action Concert Supports Local Community Organizations

The UCLA Lab School Voices of Action Choir, directed by Music Demonstration Teacher Alanah Ntzouras (far left), is comprised of students, teachers and staff 

Students from UCLA Lab School are making a difference in Los Angeles with their efforts to support two charitable organizations. They raised $396 to support the work of Forte Animal Rescue and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles through their Voices of Action choir.

Choir members Lylah P. (’21), who volunteers at Forte, and Laura M. (’19) presented checks to representatives from the two organizations at a special concert for the school community in the spring.

“This gift has special meaning to us because it comes from the children, and we are one of the few rescues in Los Angeles that offer a junior volunteer program,” said Forte volunteer Dorit Hahn. “That they came up with the idea to choose us as the beneficiary for such an event is awesome.”

Forte provides care and adoption services primarily for dogs, and sometimes also for cats, exotic animals, and birds. Because the program relies solely on donations, the gift means saving more lives, said Forte Founder and President Marie Atake. “We are not funded by the government or any agency, so every dime people donate will go to animal care,” she noted.

woman accepts donation from choir

Voices of Action presented a donation to Make-A-Wish Development Coordinator Elizabeth Espinoza at a benefit concert in the school’s Community Hall 

Make-A-Wish Development Coordinator Elizabeth Espinoza said the money her organization received also goes directly to their program, which grants the wishes of children with critical illnesses. “Every single dollar we raise in LA county goes to LA county wishes,” she said.

Espinoza noted that they have more than 500 children waiting for a wish, but her team hit a milestone in February when they granted their 10,000th wish. That was when a 6-year-old gymnast had the chance to practice with the defending NCAA Champion UCLA Women’s Gymnastics Team.

“Wishes are happening every 34 minutes somewhere around the country,” Espinoza added. “So it’s really important to keep on raising funds for all of the kids who are still waiting.”

boy playing piano
two girls playing violins

Choir members said they are proud of their contributions to the organizations.

“This work comes directly from the students and is a team effort by them and a group of our teachers who give their own time to see it succeed,” said Music Demonstration Teacher and choir director Alanah Ntzouras. “It’s exciting and empowering to know that we can make a positive difference in the world by sharing our ideas and our voices.”

The UCLA Lab School Voices of Action Choir is open to all Intermediate and Upper students as well as teachers and staff at the school. The group had 31 students and seven adult members in 2018-2019. School community members who would like to join can contact Alanah Ntzouras: antzouras@labschool.ucla.edu

(Photos by Margie Limon)