On the afternoon of March 2nd, SWAN founder Diana Vuolo made her way to Lancaster Ice Rink to attend the 17th Annual Family Skate for Abby Event. Hosted by the Abby Longenecker Foundation, dozens gathered to enjoy cake and refreshments and skate while clowns entertained the crowd, all for one purpose: to celebrate and honor Abby’s life by supporting local organizations that help kids.100_0862_zps65b071b7

Founded by Tom and Jan Longenecker, The Abigail L. Longenecker Memorial Foundation awards grants to Lancaster County nonprofit organizations that help children. The foundation was started in 1998 after the Longenecker’s nine-year old daughter, Abby, passed away. To date, the foundation has awarded over $184,000 to 63 organizations in the community, a true testament that immeasurable tragedy and suffering can birth extraordinary hope and new beginnings. This idea permeated through all of us in attendance at the ice skating rink that Sunday afternoon and it certainly resonates within all of us involved in SWAN.


100_0866_zpsc304f3adWe, too, believe that learning, teaching, and performing music is a kind of new beginning for our children. This opportunity helps them to cope with difficulties and struggles in their lives, express themselves creatively, and grow in confidence in their abilities. We have seen and heard so many stories from our children about how our music lessons have affected their lives—from the kids who immerse themselves in their instruments to get through times when they’re feeling down to the kids who are elated to learn how their singing performances have positively impacted people in the community. All of us in SWAN truly believe in the transformative power that music has to empower and inspire even through the darkest of circumstances! We are so incredibly thankful for the Abby Foundation supporting SWAN and helping us to make music lessons happen for our students! Together, we are creating new beginnings for children!

Jess Yorks, AmeriCorps VISTA, Project Cygnet Coordinator

Click for more information on the Abby Foundation.

View photos from Abby’s Foundation grant ceremony event.