The mission of the Zzak G. Applaud Our Kids Foundation is to give children the opportunity to find their own voice, increase their self-esteem, give them a sense of belonging, and provide them with positive reinforcement through the performing arts.
The foundation provides 100% funding for children ages 7-18 who meet the financial needs requirements to take ongoing lessons in vocal instruction, dance, acting, and instrumental music for the entire school year and for summer programs. The students take these ongoing lessons at local performing arts studios close to their home. We believe that financial barriers should not limit creative expression. For many these lessons represent an extended family, a constant in their life that may be missing, and the opportunity to creatively express themselves. Performing arts education helps to increase motor and cognitive skills, but also teaches students leadership, teamwork, responsibility, independence, creativity, and increases self-esteem.
The Foundation also funds or supplies dance shoes, dancewear, an instrument if needed, and any other resource that will help the child to be successful in their lessons.
In the Spring all those who are funded perform at the Foundation's Scholarship Showcase where they will share all that they have learned through their lessons in their debut performance for the year. We invite our donors, supporters and the community to see what the performing arts means to those who are funded.
If interested in receiving an application or invitation to the Scholarship Showcase please email Melissa@applaudourkids.org.
This audition only kids helping kids group is a collection of youth volunteers ages 7-22 who showcase their performing arts talents in service of the foundation’s mission. Members of the group are invited to attend and perform at local non-profit and for-profit events throughout the year. In doing so, these performers raise awareness for the foundation’s mission and are provided with a broad variety of public performance opportunities. The foundation provides an opportunity for children to take part in ongoing community service initiatives while doing something they love and enjoy. At Foundation events they perform to raise funds for their peers receiving scholarships.
The AOK Performance Group has performed at such venues as Feinstein's/54Below, galas, malls, JBJ Soul Kitchen, Lunch Break, YMCA events, etc. They have been spotlighted on News Channel 12 both on the news and in their special Sounds of the Season during the holidays. The Performance Group was also highlighted on Fox 5 News with Ernie Anastos.
Upcoming performances include several galas for non-profit organizations, the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park in March, and the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway in June. If interested in booking the AOK Performance Group for your event please email Jodi@applaudourkids.org. Dates book fast and their is no cost for these talented young volunteers to perform. Donations are always welcome.
We offer rolling auditions to join the Performance Group. If interested, please send a video performance to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to the Jay & Linda Grunin Foundation for their support.
In some cases, transportation to and from lessons is just not possible for the parent or guardian. When transportation is an issue and there is an existing community program or opportunity where multiple children can benefit from ongoing lessons in one location, the Zzak G. Applaud Our Kids Foundation will fund a qualified performing arts teacher to travel to your facility. A background check will be completed on all traveling instructors. The consistency of the program depends on the needs of the organization that is requesting it. From weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or just a one-time master class we will help to find and fund an instructor to lead your group.