This column is a little bit different from what I usually do.

I need y’alls help.

I’ve wanted to do something like this for a while and now seems as good a time as any.

I’d like to start helping local people and organizations in a very tangible way. In the past I’ve written about groups or issues in hopes of raising awareness for what they do. But this time I’d like to see if we can do some good in a very immediate way.

Here’s my idea: I would present to readers a person or group that needs help. I’ll try to tell y’all about who they are and why it’s important to help them. And then if all the readers who can afford it could send just ONE DOLLAR to that person or group, then MAYBE we can make a difference.

The reason I’m only asking for a dollar is that I think most people can spare a single dollar. That probably won’t hurt anyone. But if everyone who reads this column sends one dollar, that could really add up. The Rome News-Tribune has thousands of subscribers. This could work.

The first organization I’d like you to uplift with this project is the Rome Symphony Orchestra. You may have heard of them. And many of you may have attended performances over the years. But for those who aren’t aware, the Rome Symphony Orchestra has been around in some capacity since 1921 and in all that time they’ve been a sparkling little gem in Rome’s arts and culture landscape.

I know many of you think that a symphony is stuffy and outdated. We might think of men in tuxes and women wearing pearls attending these fancy performances but let me tell you, the Rome Symphony has done a fantastic job of trying to stay current and making their shows fun and accessible to families. You’d be surprised at the variety of music in their shows. And the quality of musicianship is amazing.

They’re good. They’re really good. They create the most beautiful music. And it’s music that has been around for centuries in some cases. At other times it’s current and easily recognizable.

But the symphony needs help. There’s no other way to put it. A wonderful piece of Rome culture could be lost if we don’t continue to support them. I know it doesn’t seem like a huge deal to some that the symphony may have to close its doors but you don’t miss the water till the well runs dry.

There is great value in the music and cultural experience the symphony provides.

So if y’all would oblige me, I’d like to humbly ask for your help. If everyone reading this column could send just one dollar to the Rome Symphony Orchestra office, maybe it will help in some tangible way.

Now I’m not so naive as to think that whatever money comes out of this will be enough to fill all the needs of any of the people or organizations I choose to help. But I have to try. Depending on how much money we send them, it could pay a bill for the month. Or it could be someone’s weekly paycheck. Or it could help purchase something the organization needs. It could help pay for a necessary repair. It could possibly do some immediate good.

So if you can spare a dollar and a minute, please put one dollar in an envelope and send it to:

The Rome Symphony Orchestra

P.O. Box 533

Rome, Ga. 30162

You are, of course, welcome to send as much or as little as you’d like but i’m only asking for a dollar.

I know many of the people involved with the symphony. I know they work hard to try to make sure that remarkable organization is around for years and years to come — for your children and for your grandchildren to enjoy.

The symphony is something Rome should be proud of. And Rome helps its own. I believe that with all my heart.

I did not consult the symphony before writing this column so I apologize to the board and staff if this causes more harm than good. This is the first one of these columns and you’re sort of my guinea pig. But if it does help, then I’d like to do this again in the future for other people and places in Rome that need our help.

I know I could have set up a crowdfunding page or simply direct you to an online link to donate, but there’s something about someone taking the time to mail an envelope that really touches my heart. It means you care enough to do a little more.

Let’s get those dollars in the mail as soon as possible. And I am deeply grateful to those who give.

If you’d like more information about the symphony, visit their web site at www.romesymphony.org

Severo Avila is Features Editor for the Rome News-Tribune.

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