Musicians have been greatly affected, both financially and physically, by the current global pandemic and resulting economic crisis. Homeless communities and individuals have been affected in even greater and more challenging ways.
Motivated by their affiliation with Park Avenue Piano's COVID Musician Relief Concerts, high school freshmen Annabel and Harriet Gensler chose to donate 100% of their concert proceeds to a Bay Area charity serving homeless families and youth, the Bill Wilson Center.
“We hope to raise money, and more importantly, bring more awareness of those youth and families in adverse situations in our community. Helping them gives us a sense of empathy and value.” - Annabel & Harriet Gensler
The Gensler sisters, active student leaders at their high school, Evergreen Valley, have noted playing their Steinway Grand piano is a source of daily inspiration and comfort over the last few months. They wanted to help, however possible, to offer some semblance of this comfort to underserved communities.
The Center called their performance an 'epitomization of how young people can care for their peers'
Annabel and Harriet’s talents created improvements in the lives of their student peers in Santa Clara County. Their concert raised over $1,000 during the live performance alone, and the BWC is still accepting rolling donations. The Center told Park Avenue Pianos that the funds will be used to support various services across the organization seeking to end youth and family homelessness.
On choosing to donate all money raised during their concert to the Bill Wilson Center, Annabel and Harriet Gensler spoke of their desire to give back to their community through music. “We hope to raise money, and more importantly, bring more awareness of those youth and families in adverse situations in our community. Helping them gives us a sense of empathy and value.”
The Bill Wilson Center provided necessary services to over 4,000 people in 2019 alone
The Bill Wilson Center provided services to 4,101 people last year and answered more than 30,000 calls to its crisis lines. BWC’s Safety Net Shelter, which provides short-term shelter for homeless and runaway youth ages 12-18, was able to reunite 86% of the youth with their families or to a stable placement. Nearly 800 students and their family members, on the verge of homelessness, received services enabling them to improve their housing stability through BWC’s Family Advocacy Services program, resulting in 92% of the students improving their school attendance and being on target to graduate.
In a testimonial regarding the Center's work, a runaway and homeless youth shelter individual said:
"My experience at the Bill Wilson Center was amazing. People there were very understanding, and the staff was always there to talk to me, the one thing that I do miss about the Bill Wilson Center was the staff, they made me feel loved and helped me out sooo much. I was in the Bill Wilson Center for 4 weeks, I had some great experiences; I'm only 14 years old right now but I got my self [sic] on track. I would love to volunteer at the Bill Wilson Center someday and I would love to show kids the right way to get somewhere where they always dreamed of because at Bill Wilson that’s what they taught me! Thank you sooo much for having the Bill Wilson Center available to teens, it helps a lot."
For more information on the Bill Wilson Center, please visit the organization's website.
To learn more about Park Avenue Piano’s COVID-19 Musician Relief Series, click here.