Allison Lane would say that she always respected and appreciated veterans. After all, her father is a West Point graduate who went on to serve in the U.S. Army and fight the Gulf War. But she said it was about two and a half years ago that she really put that appreciation into action.
The Dominion High School senior learned through a program at her church that many of the nation’s men and women who fought in the U.S. Armed Forces live at or below the poverty line.
“I didn’t realize how many of our service members are living at this low level financially,” she said. “I feel like we need to be protecting the people who protect our country. So I thought about what I could offer to help.”
So she started providing free music lessons to interested veterans and their children. Lane has played piano since she was 3 or 4 years old and picked up flute a few years later. Through her program, Flutes of Freedom, Lane spends most Sunday afternoons and an occasional weeknight teaching piano and flute. In all, she’s had seven students, most of them children of veterans.
Asked if it’s tough to give up a portion of her free time during her busy senior year, Lane said it doesn’t feel like she’s giving anything up. “The kids are really great. They’re cute and fun. So I enjoy teaching them.”
To help further her efforts, Lane found out last week that she was awarded the $500 Disney Be Inspired Grant, a grant provided in partnership with Youth Service America. Lane said she never actually thought she’d be chosen from thousands of applications nationwide for one of the grants. “I was shocked,” she said.
She plans to spend part of the money on entry-level instruments for veterans and their children, part of it on stationary to be used to write veterans letters, and the rest to provide Thanksgiving meals to veterans. She spent Veterans Day over the weekend buying 10 turkeys for those families. “Our freezer is packed with turkeys,” she said this week.
Lane wants to connect with veterans’ families in need of instruments or who want free music lessons. “I’m always looking for more students,” she said.
Those who are interested in lessons, instruments, or want to help Lane’s cause, can contact her through her website flutesoffreedom.com.