What makes Chipotle fundraisers so special is the people behind them and their own unique story and purpose. For the band at STEM Launch in Thornton, Colorado, Chipotle fundraisers have helped them get to where they are today and allow them to grow and develop as a program.
Hannah Ressler, band director at STEM Launch, shares how she feels the whole band benefits from Chipotle fundraisers: “When I first got here, instruments and stands were literally falling apart. Through Chipotle fundraisers we’ve been able to kind of flip the script. We’ve been buying new music stands, new instruments, new percussion equipment. That gives the students a sense of pride when they’re playing – now they have a nice brand-new instrument that sounds good.”
New stands and instruments are essential in helping a band program and its students grow and develop over the years. Ressler believes, “new instruments give the students a sense of self-respect. By having new equipment, it’s allowing them to really hear their progress throughout the year.”
Upgrading to new instruments and equipment may be a common occurrence for some schools and band departments, but STEM Launch needs a little extra help. As a Title 1 school, the majority of students that attend receive free and reduced lunch. Their extracurricular programs depend heavily on fundraising to help them grow and rely on the support of the community.
When reflecting on community support, Ressler states, “the community is all in. Any time we have a fundraiser, they show up in what seems like a caravan of people going to Chipotle to support the band. In our concerts, it’s standing room only – there is no seat available. It really does a great job of bringing our community together.”
Chipotle hosts fundraisers to support the local organizations that surround our restaurants and to help cultivate a better world. It’s special to our restaurants when the community shows up to rally and invest in organizations in their own backyard, and their support makes a huge difference to that organization.
Vincent Weier, a student at STEM Launch, tells us, “music has always been a big part of my life. And band is a place I can relax and be myself. The most important part to me is the band concerts because we can show everyone how hard we’ve worked and how far we’ve come since we started.”
When speaking to the different band students, they all seemed to have the same feeling of gratefulness that band has brought them new friendships and collaboration. Playing their instrument is a way to express themselves and by being in the band program at STEM Launch for three years, they learn and grow together.
“I teach students for three years and so I really want to create a home for them. They may not have a permanent home outside of school so if I can create a space for them where they feel safe, and they feel accepted and loved, then that’s what this whole place is about,” Ressler says.
Growing up, it’s common to have a teacher or two that has had a positive impact on your life. They may have said something that you won’t forget or taught you something that you’ll take with you in your later years. Ressler is that teacher for her students. She is committed to bettering their lives beyond the band room and values her time with each individual student.
While she supports her students, Chipotle has been able to support her fundraising endeavors. “The support that I received through Chipotle in doing these fundraisers is beyond words. It has literally allowed this program to survive the way it has,” Ressler tells us.
The reason she always chooses Chipotle when hosting their next fundraiser is because of the ease of hosting as well as the percentage of event sales that the organization receives. Her best advice to ensure a good turnout? Lots of promotion.
“The way I ensure that it’s a successful fundraiser is by putting it on the school website, band website, there’s flyers everywhere – I give one to each kid. I also make sure that the flyers are both in English and in Spanish because of the population that I teach. But I’m also blasting it out on apps making sure that it’s on everyone’s mind. Just get the word out.”