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Sacramento's Grant Drumline to march in National Independence Day Parade. But, they need your help

The drumline needs $60,000 for the educational trip to Washington, D.C. and New York City. So far, the group has raised $30,000.

SACRAMENTO, California — Grant Drumline is returning to Washington, D.C. this summer to march in the National Independence Day Parade. But first, the group must raise the funds needed to represent California. 

James Van Buren, also known as Mr. V, is the drumline director at Grant Union High School in Sacramento's Del Paso Heights neighborhood. He started the program in 2009.

"There's crime here, but there's also a lot of love here," he told ABC10. "What I try to do is provide opportunities for those students who would often get in trouble, because that's a lot of what you can find in the neighborhood, opportunities to express themselves in a positive way."

Thirteen students are participating in the drumline this year. Since the program remains underfunded, students rely solely on donations from the public to cover all expenses, like instruments, uniforms, and educational trips.

"The district does not fund the program," Van Buren said. "The school does not fund the program. This summer, the drumline will be headed back to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Independence Day parade. Then, the following day, the kids and I are looking forward to performing at Times Square."

The drumline needs $60,000 for the trip to Washington, D.C. and New York City, filled with performance schedules and tours. So far, the group has raised $30,000. The funds will be used to purchase each student's airline ticket, food, and other basic expenses. 

"It has given me great opportunities and experiences, Grant Union High School senior Ajani Everhart said. "It's helped me keep my grades up because you cannot be on drumline with poor grades. It's also help me move on to graduating and wanting to go to college."

Since the start of the program, Van Buren has helped students in underserved communities get out of their zip code to experience new opportunities around the world. In the past, the drumline visited South Africa, Japan, and Washington, D.C., just to name a few.

"You have to be committed longterm," Van Buren said. "That means funding a program, like mines, year after year, and not waiting until something drastic happens, something that we all do not want to see, like murders and gang activity."

You can donate or learn  more about Grant Drumline by visiting their official website.

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