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Better Than Ezra Foundation Partners With Young Audiences to Create an After School Program for Bethune Elementary Students

New Orleans, LA — The Better Than Ezra Foundation has partnered with Young Audiences to create an after school program for the children of Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School of Literature and Technology located in the Holly Grove neighborhood of New Orleans. The after school program takes place Monday-Friday throughout the school year and includes 30 minutes of homework assistance along with a 75 minute arts education class in the following areas: Visual Arts, African Drums and Dance, Marching Band and Film Production. For those students behind their grade level, the program also offers individualized or small group learning for students in Math or English Language Arts.

“We currently have 80 underprivileged children enrolled with more being added every day,” says Tom Drummond, founding member and bass player of Better Than Ezra. “We’ve done a lot with Bethune over the years but really wanted to take it to the next level and create a program that extends outside of the classroom.”

Principal Mary C. Haynes-Smith could not agree more saying, “Through this program, we are able to actively engage students in a culturally enriched arts based program which provides a safe and educational experience for the students. I am forever grateful to the Better Than Ezra Foundation for making this dream a reality.”

The partnership between the Better Than Ezra Foundation and Young Audiences is an exciting union of educational and professional arts. Enriching a student’s life with the arts allows them to approach academic and social learning with a new perspective. But beyond the value of a broadened horizon lies the relationship behind this program:
professional musicians creating the next generation of artists while focusing on the importance of excelling in the classroom.

“Young Audiences is thrilled to team up with the Better Than Ezra Foundation,” says Program Manager Suzannah Powell. “Through this program, Young Audiences hopes to perpetuate the artistic community of New Orleans by providing these students an opportunity to discover not only their creativity, but a potential career path as well.”

The Better Than Ezra Foundation adopted Bethune Elementary in 2010 and in addition to the after school program the foundation has built an educational playground for the children, donated school supplies, renovated the teacher’s lounge and purchased an AV system to enhance student experience and teaching methods.

In order to continue to support the after school program, a number of fundraisers will take place throughout the year. The next event will be a Tailgate Brunch before the Saints vs. 49ers game on Sunday, November 17th at Sainte Marie located at 930 Poydras. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit: https://btefoundationtailgate.eventbrite.com

To learn more about the Better Than Ezra Foundation and how to get involved, please visit

About Better Than Ezra Foundation

The Better Than Ezra Foundation, founded by renowned rock band Better Than Ezra, is committed to raising funds to support the renewal of the structural and cultural heritage of New Orleans and Southern Louisiana. The Better Than Ezra Foundation has raised over $850,000 for various causes in and around New Orleans.
Website: https://www.btefoundation.org

About Young Audiences

Young Audiences of Louisiana was founded in 1962 with the mission to inspire, empower, and connect children and communities through education, arts, and culture. Over the last 51 years the organization has grown from presenting school performances of chamber music to our current position as the state’s largest provider of arts-integrated and afters chool programs. Since 2006 Young Audiences has operated after school programs in schools throughout
Greater New Orleans that promote academic excellence and social growth. External evaluations have shown that students enrolled in Young Audiences after school programs in Jefferson Parish schools outperformed their peers on standardized tests. In addition, students in these programs showed fewer disciplinary reports and increased school attendance.
Website: https://www.ya4la.org