Sarah Pascual, ’13, may be all about numbers as an accounting major, but she says it’s only natural that music plays a major role in her life.
“It’s constant singing at home, from the moment we get up to the time we go to bed,” she says.
After participating in the production Rent her sophomore year with Christina Meehan, ’14, the two began discussing the lack of variety among the a capella groups in campus. Both shared a passion for music, but wanted to see a group with a little more “oomph.”
“We started a group where we could combine live background music, like the piano, dance compilations, and song,” Pascual says. “We have the whole package.”
When she co-founded Glee Club, Pascual says she had the vision of combining the group with middle school or elementary school students. That’s where the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement came in.
Pascual began working with the CCE her first year. She initially worked at UR Downtown as a student coordinator and after her first semester, she was given the opportunity to pursue a project of her choosing.
She began working at the Peter Paul Development Center (PPDC), which hosts an after-school program for elementary and middle school students. In addition to providing mentors and help with homework, the PPDC offers cooking classes, choir, sports, and other extracurricular activities.
But it was Kim Dean, Richmond Families Initiative and UR Downtown Program Director, who helped Pascual connect the dots between music and mentorship.
“Kim suggested several Richmond Families Initiative partners who were interested in my Glee club project proposal,” she says. “Once I was able to connect with PPDC, she guided me through the process of launching the program. I wouldn't have been able to do it without her.”
Pascual took on the challenge of leading 15 first- through fifth-graders in their own Glee Club. She says the PPDC had a choir, but because the program is Christian-based, they sang mostly gospel. Glee, she says, was a good way to bring modern music with a positive message to the students.
“They were on board and really excited from the beginning,” Pascual says. “They hadn’t see the UR Glee Club, but they were familiar with the show.”
She helped the students prepare and perform songs like Keep Your Head Up by Andy Grammer and No One by Alicia Keys. In the same way that music has been an outlet for her, Pascual says the music became an outlet for the students. And in turn, Pascual found a new source of inspiration: “I influenced them in a positive way, and that was the most rewarding thing.”