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Andre Bailey of Winona Receives $1,000 In Seed Money
Amy Engrav and Jazmine Sallee from our Winona branch recognized Andre Bailey of Winona with $1,000 in cash as part of our on-going Seed Money campaign. This campaign helps Home Federal and its employees recognize the unsung heroes in the communities we serve.
Who is Andre Bailey?
Andre is a Winona resident that has a strong passion for music and cares deeply about his family (literally and figuratively).
Originally from Chicago, Andre spent his college years as a drum major for the marching band at Jackson State University in Mississippi before settling in Winona. He’s now a father of two who has combined parenting and percussion into a long-term passion project that has benefitted dozens of other children in his community.
What Makes Andre Bailey So Deserving?
Andre started the Little Warriors Drumline three years ago as a way to give children a more productive way to spend their time after witnessing an incident of his son being bullied outside of the East End Recreation Center. The program originally started with Menards buckets and drumsticks and has since evolved into a talented and disciplined drumline of 96 kids ranging from 6-17 years old.
What Andre quickly observed was that as more kids signed up, the more he saw they needed an opportunity to grow. “A lot of the kids I have are low-income and they come from broken homes,” Andre explained. “We put together this program so we can help these kids.”
Andre knows it takes more than the family within the home to help raise a child to be the best they can be. “It takes a village to raise a family – it really does. You may not be around your children all the time, but the community will. That’s [why it’s] important that we come together like that.”
Not only does coordinating the drumline take funding and passion, but it takes time. One of Andre’s nominators Anne Scharmach stated, “Andre has spent countless hours teaching underprivileged kids how to play the drums. The drumline practices on a regular basis at the East End Recreation Center and performs in front of live audiences [throughout the year].”
When someone like Andre is working so hard to provide a positive environment for children who need it, it is no surprise that he had multiple nominations. His other nominator and wife, Tara Bailey, sees why he is deserving everyday. “What I admire most is that Andre simply saw a need and took action,” she shared with us. “This is something that was needed, not just for our child but for a lot of the kids living on the East End. They gravitated very, very quickly,” she explained. “I nominated Andre because I honestly can’t think of anybody more deserving in the community. This is someone who just saw a need and took it upon himself to put something in place. He’s always had a passion for drumline and for band and for youth – more importantly, troubled youth. This was a good platform for him to combine all of those elements into one thing.”
Together Andre and Tara have been able to do more than provide an after school program, they have created a family environment for the kids that need it most. “I’m doing this out of love because I love these kids,” he disclosed.
Where Did We Surprise Andre Bailey?
The Little Warriors Drumline rehearses on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the East End Rec Center. This made it easy to coordinate when and where to surprise Andre with the $1,000 in cash.
As Home Federal’s Winona Branch Manager Amy Engrav and Assistant Branch Manager Jazmine Sallee entered the EERC with our camera crew, they could hear the thunderous (and well-played) beats from the drumline which led them to a gym full of parents, children, and our Seed Money recipient. Once Amy explained to Andre why we were rewarding him with $1,000, there was immediate applause from all of those who support him and even a group hug from all of the kids. “I am just in awe right now of this money. I am really thankful,” Andre expressed. “And you did it around people I love.”
Why is Giving Back to the Community So Important?
Giving back to the community is important because it’s what will help provide a better future for its residents. “It’s very important to give back because when you give back, that’s helping the community grow,” Andre emphasized. “You have to give back.”
We think Tara summed it up well when she told us, “I watched the other [Seed Money] videos and recipients, and everybody has a different skillset. Everybody has a different passion, and if you can bring that to the community, you would be surprised what could come of it.” And that’s been our hope all along with Seed Money, to shed light on the many different ways people give back.
How Can You Help Little Warriors Drumline?
When a program like Little Warriors Drumline has so many children involved, you can imagine that there is always a need for drums, skins, sticks, and uniforms. However, they are working towards a larger purchase – a bus that would allow them to travel to their performances together. “Whether it’s $5 or $2, it all goes towards something very helpful,” Tara told us.
“You can find us on Facebook and if you’re looking to donate, you can donate through either the Winona Community Foundation who is our fiscal sponsor, and we do have a GoFundMe page as well. If you’d like to reach out directly for more information you can email us. Monetary donations go towards new equipment,” Tara further explained.
Seed Money was created to help recognize and reward the local “do-gooders” going above and beyond in their communities and Andre is very deserving of the Seed Money reward and recognition. To help showcase how Andre is helping his community grow, we recorded his Seed Money surprise and posted it to our Youtube channel. Feel free to view Andre’s video along with other recipients' footage, to see the full impact that Seed Money is providing to our communities.
“Everything that Andre does for these kids is awesome and we are really excited that we could reward him with the Seed Money as a thank you for all he does,” Amy mentioned after recognizing Andre. “Giving back to the community is what Seed Money is all about.”
Seed Money is part of Home Federal’s Community Roots Initiative where the mission is to “Give Today to Help Grow Tomorrow” and we know Andre Bailey has successfully given the children that need it a support system and has helped the children of Winona grow.
We thank individuals, like Andre, for all you do in the communities we serve. See our other Seed Money stories and how we’re giving back by visiting our Seed Money page.