Charity x COVID-19: St. James Music Academy


There are many people and issues that require immediate attention during these times of uncertainty. Charities have adjusted the way they operate on a daily basis and many have had to make significant shifts to fulfill their particular missions. Unfortunately, many charities may not weather this storm.  

Our intention with the Charity x COVID-19 series is to share updates from a spectrum of charitable organizations to garner attention and inspire support for those in need.

Charity name: St. James Music Academy

Established:  2007

Core purpose & mandate: 

St. James Music Academy (SJMA) provides free classical music education to the children and youth in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. We use our orchestras and choirs as models for healthy community living. Inspiring social change through the joy of music.

How is your organization impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Due to provincial measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, all of Saint James Music Academy’s onsite school is closed which will affect our students and families. We have also noticed a decline in donations due to the decline of the market

How have your fundraising plans changed? 

We will continue to fundraise to meet our budget as we had planned and will carry out our programming, however, we are adapting our music programs to meet the needs of our community in this pandemic. We are focusing on online music classes for students and providing nutrition and emergency essential hampers for families in need.

If there is one story or message you would like to share with our community, what would it be? 

One thing we have always been able to count on is the ability to come together in hard times, and we are learning that we have to adjust to the fact that in this crisis, we have to come up with new ways of moving forward together.  For instance: Several members of our community have stepped forward to help with emergency supply hamper assembly.

One such person is Khitam, who is also a mother of a SJMA student, and she was among the first to offer to help when she heard about the emergency hamper project.  She was happy for a way to help her community. But usually, while Khitam is working and volunteering with SJMA, her daughter Angie is either in school or at SJMA participating in our music classes. Unfortunately due to sanitation and social-distancing protocols, children can’t be present during hamper assembly.  And being that Khitam is a single mother, who, having come to Canada as a refugee, has no other family to help with her daughter, so her family is among our list of so many of our families who are facing an urgent need for support and connection through this crisis. Gladly we’ve been able to get emergency supplies to Khitam, and online music lessons to Angie!

We at SJMA are here for our families and community.  We will continue to provide support, enrichment and connection through the joy of music, in new ways.  Our goal is to keep our students looking and working towards the future.  The strength of the community will carry us through exceptionally difficult times, and we will continue to adapt and keep moving forward together with unrelenting hope!

How can one support your organization most effectively? 

We are kindly seeking financial donations to provide essential emergency hampers and continue music programming online. Supporters can donate online in the convenience of their own home while social distancing.

Can donations be transferred electronically?   

Donations can be made at sjma.ca