CLIENT: William Chalmus, Harvard University graduate student
PROJECT: press release for GoFundMe campaign
DATE: August 10, 2015
Formerly homeless Boston custodian accepted at Harvard
African American arts educator launches crowdfunding campaign
William Chalmus remembers being 16 years old and sitting on a park bench he called home. “Something inside me shifted that night,” he said. “I realized that opportunity was not going to come knocking at my door. I knew I had to track down and even create opportunity myself, knocking and knocking until the door opened.”
Fast-forward 16 years and Chalmus is holding an acceptance letter from Harvard Graduate School of Education. If he is able to raise tuition funds, Chalmus, also known as Will C., will pursue an Arts in Education Master’s Degree beginning this September. But first he has to meet his goal of raising $50,000, which he is doing through GoFundMe (http://www.gofundme.com/willctoharvard). To date, contributors have donated over $17,000.
The 32-year-old, who has supported himself and his family as a custodian, says the program will feed his deepest passion. “I believe in the power of the arts to empower individuals. I’ve witnessed it in my own life and facilitate it as a teacher with my students.”
Chalmus put himself through university at Brandeis, where he received his B.A. in Theater, cum laude. After graduation, he worked as a teacher with Ailey Camp: Boston, Paper Picker Press, and even at Brandeis where he teaches in the theatre department.
The artist deeply understands the potential teachers have to help disadvantaged students develop and make their dreams and goals reality. In 2013, Chalmus hosted a “mentor dinner” at his favorite restaurant, Maggiano’s, which nine former teachers, program directors and supervisors attended. “Each of those people changed my life,” he said. “They showed me the critical role one individual can play in a person’s life. I want to be part of that.”
Some doors are harder to open than others. Learn more about Will C. and how to get involved: http://www.gofundme.com/willctoharvard.