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The Kelly for Kids Foundation is known for supporting children with disabilities and children in need throughout western New York. Earlier this year, Starbridge was fortunate to receive a Community Grant of $2,500 to purchase new drums for our TIES drum circles.


TIES Coordinator Marcy Hagen accepts the Community Grant check from Buffalo Bills legend and philanthropist Jim Kelly


TIES (Together Including Every Student) promotes the participation of students and young adults who have developmental disabilities in inclusive extracurricular and community activities. Drum circles are one of the most popular activities. Youth make music under the direction of a trained drum leader and with support from a trained peer volunteer

TIES participants in drum circleDianna Douglas and her brother are regulars at the Webster drumming circle. Dianna shared, “I like how it’s all ages and I get to meet new people. I can relate to the other people there because we like the same stuff.”

Currently TIES is offered in 41 school districts, five of which offer drum circles.

Kathy Costello, TIES Program Director, says the purchase of new drums not only allows more youth to participate in current drum circles, but also enables TIES to start up new drum circles in the western NY region.

On behalf of Starbridge, Krystyna Staub, Vice President, Philanthropy, said:

“We are grateful to the Kelly for Kids Foundation for recognizing the value of providing inclusive opportunities for students with disabilities to participate alongside their peers.”