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Thursday, January 26, 2023

‘More than a Drum Line’

Boom Squad marches into its third decade.

An Evansville nonprofit has been making a booming — pardon the pun — impression on youth for 20 years, and it shows no signs of losing steam.

Boom Squad was launched in January 2003 by parents who wanted to give their children a step toward positive influences and productive activities. In the two decades since, it has upped its presence to the national stage.

At its surface, the nonprofit is a drum line and dance squad for children ages 4-17 who typically come from historically underserved parts of the community. But members offer participating students year-round programming including academic tutoring and skill building, vital mentoring, access to former students at colleges and universities, activities to keep kids occupied in summer, and workforce readiness and entrepreneurship training with an emphasis on leadership.

Through community members’ engagement, Boom Squad also places a strategic focus on developing stronger family units, healthier friendships, higher academic achievement, cultural sensitivity, and diversity awareness.

“Our mission is to provide youth with the necessary skills to make well-informed choices that lead to a healthy lifestyle and a successful future,” says Verdelski Miller, a local attorney and the director of Boom Squad. “Many of our youth come to us because of their interest in learning to play the drums, dance, or learn flag routines.”

Those students’ electrifying performances with Boom Squad’s drum line and dance squad have scored them invitations to perform nationwide, but they are equally well loved when they pop up at hometown events. Parades? They’re not complete without Boom Squad. Saturday night wrestling at the Coliseum? Boom Squad might make a surprise appearance. Halftime at the 2022 NCAA OVC men’s basketball championship? Boom Squad had the crowd on their feet. Each appearance gives the drum line and dance squads a chance to perform and simultaneously raise awareness for the nonprofit.

Boom Squad is not limited to participating youth and parents. Volunteers can assist with homework, check in on youth each week, help with drum line practices and performances, serve meals and snacks during programming, and more. Just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an army of volunteers to put Boom Squad itself in motion.

“Our overall purpose is to provide a safe place for youth to learn, experience, and grow,” Miller says. “As our tag line says, we are ‘more than a drum line.’”

HERE COMES THE BOOM boomsquadinc.com

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