Violins against Violence


Camden, NJ - Like most classes, students of the Collingswood Middle and High School Orchestra have been learning in an online format since last March and their performances have moved from the concert hall to social media. Since September, their online performances, some featured on the news, have caught the attention of over 10,000 viewers and students have established an energized online audience. Putting that attention to good use, the orchestra turned from practicing their instruments to practicing empathy.

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According to Human Rights Watch, reports suggest that domestic violence against women has increased since the beginning of the pandemic. Confronting this, students were asked to research how specific populations are affected by the pandemic and to identify local nonprofits that seek to uplift those communities. The first organization students wanted to highlight was the Camden County Women’s Shelter. One of the largest in New Jersey, the shelter provides support and services for women fleeing domestic violence.  


The orchestra’s latest online performance was posted to Facebook and was accompanied by an online fundraiser for the shelter. Within 24 hours, the online community smashed the original fundraising goal and contributions continue to rise. Though the original goal has been met, the need to support those facing domestic violence remains ongoing and the fundraising campaign will continue through the end of the month.


Mario De Santis, orchestra director, describes the goal of the initiative, “During a time of such isolation and suffering, it’s important to look out for each other. I want students to know they can play a role in easing someone else’s despair.” Julie Hanley of the shelter comments, “CCWC is grateful for the support of the orchestra students in our work to help victims of domestic violence in Camden County live in safe and healthy homes.”


For more information on the Camden County Women’s Shelter, please visit To contribute to the fundraising campaign, please visit If you or someone you love needs the services of the CCWC, please call its 24-hour hotline at

(856) 227-1234.


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