Zzak G. Applaud Our Kids Foundation
Picture a child singing into her hairbrush, or a child playing chords on an air guitar, or another child in front of his mirror pretending to dance in the New York City Ballet. Now imagine these children unable to fulfill their dreams because they are part of the underserved population. They are looking for a way to creatively express themselves, but their families do not have the means to support their dreams.With your help and generous support, we can give them the resources and education they need to turn their pretend world into a reality.
The mission of the Zzak G. Applaud Our Kids Foundation is to give children the opportunity to find their own voice, increase their self-esteem, give them a sense of belonging, and provide them with positive reinforcement through the performing arts.
The foundation provides funding for underserved children ages 7-18 to take ongoing lessons in vocal instruction, dance, acting, and instrumental music for the entire school year and for summer programs. We build partnerships with local schools, as well as other community organizations, to identify students who meet the financial needs requirements. Students interested in applying for a scholarship will complete a simple application. The foundation’s Advisory Committee will review all submissions for eligibility.
The Advisory Committee is comprised of performing arts educators, social workers, business owners, theatre enthusiasts, as well as other professionals within the local community that have a love for the arts. Once a student is accepted into the program the foundation will then pair the scholarship recipient with a participating local performing arts studio.
All potential Studio Partners go through an interview process. All students accepted into the program will receive weekly or biweekly lessons in the discipline of their choice at a Studio Partner facility that is close to their home. Additionally, if a student is in need of any supplies in order to be successful in their class (dance shoes or instruments), the foundation (when funding is available) and studio will make every effort to provide these items to the student at no additional cost. Scholarship Showcase All scholarship students are invited to participate in the foundation’s end of the year showcase. This is when all those who made it possible, our generous donors and sponsors, will have the opportunity to watch our scholarship recipients share what they have learned. Partnerships The foundation partners with other organizations that are assisting children in this financial demographic.
Some of our partners include: • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ocean County • Ocean Harbor House • CCYC • Casa of Bergen County • Children’s Home Society • Fulfill of Monmouth & Ocean Counties • Ocean Partnership
AOK Performance Group
This audition-only kids helping kids group is a collection of youth volunteers ages 7-22 who showcase their performing arts talents in service of the foundation’s mission. Members of the group are invited to attend and perform at local non-profit and for-profit events throughout the year. In doing so, these performers raise awareness for the foundation’s mission and are provided with a broad variety of public performance opportunities. The foundation provides an opportunity for children to take part in ongoing community service initiatives while doing something they love and enjoy.
Kids are a part of every aspect of foundation productions and fundraisers. From performing, stage management, selling concessions, to ushering. Kids are stationed with an adult mentor that have experience in that task. This allows the students to learn a new skill or strengthen an existing skill that is important to them.
We receive funding from a variety of resources including grants, corporate sponsorships, and individual donors.
Did you know?
- Students who take four years of arts and music classes average almost 100 points higher on their SAT scores than students who take only one-half year or less.
- Low-income students who are highly engaged in the arts are twice as likely to graduate college as their peers with no arts education.
- Arts students are 55% more likely to attend secondary schools than those who do not participate in the arts. Low-income students who are highly engaged in the arts are twice as likely to graduate college as their peers with no arts education.
Performing arts education contributes to the proactive development of an individual on many different levels. It provides children with the opportunity to find their own voice, increases self-esteem, gives them a sense of belonging, and provides an outlet for them to openly express themselves.
The foundation relies on generous support from community grants, sponsors, and individual donors.
About Zzak G: The Zzak G. Applaud Our Kids Foundation was created in honor of our Dad, Zzak G. who was a singer/songwriter and was extremely passionate about the performing arts. Due to financial challenges he was unable to take vocal lessons at a young age. He started taking lessons in his mid-thirties and at his first lesson his teacher told him he was an operatic tenor. Our Dad was an inspiration to us and our children, as well as, all those who came into his life. He was our mentor, our best friend, our teacher, our spiritual advisor, positivity trainer, our rock, our go to guy, our sounding board, our business advisor and so much more. Everyone who met him felt the same way. He was selfless in his endeavors and supported people on their own personal journeys. He believed in the power of positive thinking and could turn any situation into a positive learning experience. He always said that he practiced the religion of kindness. Three and a half years ago, he was diagnosed with ALS and within 6 months he lost his battle. Throughout his disease he tried to stay strong and positive. He refused to let ALS define him. He went to work in Manhattan even when he was struggling with walking and he sang Happy Birthday to his oldest Granddaughter the week before he passed away even though he was on a ventilator. The performing arts kept him going up until the end. We love and miss him each and every day. His passion in life was music, the performing arts and watching his grandchildren as they performed on stage as well. We know that he is so proud of each child that comes through this foundation. He is yelling “Fantastic” just like he did for his own grandkids at every performance. Please take a moment to listen to Zzak G. perform two original songs.
Rhymes of a Child: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7lUaVdh7cc
Arts & Recreation
Last Updated: 07/16/19