Collingswood students help local non-profits through Violins Against Violence program

COLLINGSWOOD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- There's a new movement with music students at Collingswood High School and Middle School known as Violins Against Violence.

It goes back to the beginning of the pandemic when orchestra director Mario DeSantis started posting his students' videos online given school was all virtual.

He started to see the videos were gaining a lot of attention and used it to start a platform to help local non-profits.

"It's one of the benefits of the pandemic. We've definitely seen that we can use our passion to make a difference," said Sophie Steidle, a high school senior.

Violins Against Violence started a month ago. Students are encouraged to research specific organizations in need in Camden County.

"Empathy is the most important thing I could ever teach a student. If I can teach them to play a violin, that's great. But empathy and caring about others is my priority," DeSantis said.

Students don't have to be violinists to be a part of the program. So far, students have raised nearly $1,000 in one month. They have far exceeded their goal of $500. The music video serves a double purpose of both fundraising and raising awareness.

"So there's a health center in Camden that really focused on AIDS prevention and clean needles. So I was really excited to find that," said sophomore Riley Stacy.

The intention is to keep Violins Against Violence running as long as possible. To help this great cause go to
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