Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is proud to announce that the Ladies Hospital Aid Society (LHAS) has contributed a $50,000 endowment grant to establish the LHAS Young Children’s Scholarship Fund at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School. The fund will provide annual scholarships to talented young students – who would otherwise be unable to afford tuition – to attend PBT School’s internationally recognized training program.
Established in 1898, LHAS has been providing educational, financial, medical and social services to individuals and families in Western Pennsylvania for more than 115 years. LHAS has raised more than $15 million and allocates more than $350,000 annually for research, community projects and services that fit its mission. The LHAS Young Children’s Scholarship Fund fulfills both the LHAS mission, and the vision of its Board of Directors and President Carole Kamin, to leave a lasting legacy in the community by creating an enduring endowment for PBT School. The LHAS fund will provide annual scholarships for talented students, ages 5 to 8, to enroll in PBT School’s Children’s Division training program. As an open fund, it also will continue to grow with new gifts from other supporters of the scholarship program. LHAS Director and PBT School parent Jill Nolan knows first-hand the benefits children will receive from this endowment.
“Young children will be able to experience the arts for years to come. The focus and discipline of classical ballet training at an early age can provide the foundation for a child’s success not only at the barre, but in the classroom, community and beyond,” said Nolan, whose daughter Ainsley, 11, is a Level III student at PBT School.
Now entering its second year, PBT’s annual Children’s Division Scholarship Program is committed to making PBT School and the art form of ballet accessible to talented and committed students and families throughout the Pittsburgh region. Since launching the program in June 2013, PBT has hosted two community auditions for 88 children from ages 5 to 8, a pivotal age for aspiring ballet dancers.
“It is a privilege to have the long-standing leadership of the Ladies Hospital Aid Society behind us in this effort to open the doors to premier ballet training for students with the talent and passion for dance,” said PBT Executive Director Harris Ferris. “Early ballet training instills a sense of discipline and dedication that can translate to everything from health and wellness to academics. We are proud to share this common goal with LHAS and be partnering to promote the powerful impact of the arts for children.”
This first named endowment gift for PBT Children’s Division scholarships builds upon the program that launched in 2013 with a major challenge grant from PBT supporters, Bill and Sandy Lambert. PBT’s first dedicated program for Children’s Division scholarships aims to broaden access to early ballet training for talented young students from families of varied socioeconomic backgrounds. The inaugural year of the program made the dream of dancing a reality for 13 new students during the 2013-2014 School Year, and the program will fund training for an additional eight students during the 2014-2015 School Year.