EVANSVILLE, INDIANA — Trophy after trophy line the walls of Stanley Hall, gold figurines and plaques, all earned through the beating of the drum.
This is the home of the Boom Squad, a performing drum line, but as its motto says – “It’s more than a drum line.”
“An idle mind will get you in trouble,” Boom Squad Activities Director Jimmy Hale said. “We can take a lot of kids off the streets, give them activities, give them exposure.”
The Evansville-based Boom Squad brings in children, many whom are living in less than ideal situations, and teaches them about music and life.
“We enforce discipline,” Hale said. “We enforce structure. You’ve got to dress properly. You’ve got to have manners. You’ve got to go to school.”
The squad is now receiving a $100,000 annual grant from the Indiana Department of Education renewable for four years.
“It was ecstatic,” Hale said. “We couldn’t believe it.”
According to Hale, this money will go a long way.
“It’s going to take a big strain off all the parents,” he said. “It’s going to help us to reach out to more kids.”
The grant will also help pay for more uniforms, instruments, equipment and other activities and projects, helping the Boom Squad earn more trophies.
“We won first place at the Drums on Ohio,” Hale said. “That was my personal favorite.”
But for Hale, these accolades don’t compare to the Boom Squad’s real reward.
“I tell you, to have a kid invite you to their graduation – not only high school, but college – and come up to you and say, ‘Thank you Mr. Jimmy for all the help you’ve done,” it makes it all worth it,” Hale said.
The Boom Squad is fundraising for a trip to Disney World this coming spring, where they have been invited to perform at Epcot Center. But because the Boom Squad won’t be able to access the grant funds until August, they are still looking to raise money to help send the students to Orlando.
The trip costs aruond $60,000 and Hale said the Boom Squad is already 75 percent of the way there. You can donate through the Boom Squad’s website – http://boomsquadinc.com.