OrKidstra

Arts & Culture, Education

About

Music has the power to change lives!

OrKidstra is an Ottawa-based charity that empowers kids ages 5-18 and builds community through the universal language of music. We do this by providing children from under-served communities with free instruments and music lessons, which gives them the chance to learn essential life skills – such as teamwork, respect, empathy, and self-discipline – through playing and singing together.

Our Story

Founded in 2007, at the heart of OrKidstra is the beautiful combination of musicianship and citizenship. As OrKidstra nears its 15th anniversary on October 22, 2022, its programs now reach over 700 children and youth from over 62 linguistic and cultural backgrounds in five under-served Ottawa neighbourhoods.

“When young people work together in orchestras, they learn skills that are valuable to our society. In addition to music, they learn discipline, respect, dedication, teamwork, listening skills, and so much more. Our future is a lot brighter thanks to OrKidstra and the talented young people they nurture.” – Alexander Shelley, OrKidstra Ambassador and Music Director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra

Want more information about OrKidstra? We’d love to hear from you!

Our Impact

OrKidstra brings the joys and challenges of making music together to children who might otherwise be left out.

Despite the recognized value of music to the growing mind, almost 55,000 children attending elementary school in Ottawa have no specialist music teacher (Ottawa Insights), and private music lessons are largely out of reach due to systemic barriers such as financial constraints. Youth in high-risk areas are also more likely to drop out of school, which continues the cycle of poverty.
In the hands of a child, a clarinet or violin becomes a remarkable instrument of change, growth, and empowerment. OrKidstra helps kids become virtuoso adults.

OrKidstra Success Stats:

  • Reaching over 700 Ottawa kids from 5 under-served Ottawa neighbourhoods;
  • 96% of OrKidstra students participate for free, including access to musical instruments such as viola, trombone, clarinet, violin, flute, cello, saxophone, and many others;
  • 100% of OrKidstra parents say their child is doing better in school*
  • 95% of OrKidstra students feel they have improved their musical ability*
  • 100% of OrKidstra parents say that their child feels like they belong at OrKidstra.*
  • 100% of OrKidstra graduates have completed high school gone on to post-secondary education.
*2021-22 OrKidstra Student, Parent and Teacher Survey.

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Legal Name

OrKidstra-Sistema Ottawa

Charity Number

83246 7153 RR0001

How your gift will be used

Give the Gift of Music to Tomorrow’s Youth!

Passionate support from donors like you has established OrKidstra as a powerful instrument of transformation in the lives of thousands of children in low-income neighbourhoods of Ottawa.

“I think that the arts, particularly music, is so crucial in helping children develop…When I give to OrKidstra, I know it goes to good use.” – Chloë McLellan, Visionary Legacy Donor

Your gift will help ensure that tomorrow’s youth have the opportunity to experience the joys and challenges of music. Your gift will help provide free access to instruments and music lessons and a home away from home for kids from under-served communities. Your gift will cultivate a sense of belonging and give kids the opportunity to learn the life skills they need to become confident, responsible, and resourceful adults. A gift in your Will is a powerful way to help ensure that OrKidstra’s doors are open to all kids who want to belong.

“When you donate to OrKidstra, you are helping to improve the quality of life for kids from under-served areas of our community AND you are sharing the precious gift of music with them. That’s an amazing gift.” – Declan, OrKidstra Graduate

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