After learning last month that they had received the honor of a lifetime in the form of an invitation to march behind President Obama as part of the 2013 Inauguration Day festivities, the South Shore Drill Team launched their effort to raise the $45,000 they need to underwrite the trip to D.C.
As of Thursday, with about a week to go, the Chicago-based group has raised $20,000, Fox Chicago reported Wednesday, but even with $10,000 donated Thursday by Walgreens, the group is still about $15,000 short of their funding goal.
Even if they aren't able to raise the rest of the funds to transport 55 of the team's senior-most members along with 25 chaperones, they told Fox that won't stop them from making the historic trip.
"God is going to get us there regardless of the money, it's deep in my heart," Michael Borum, the team's assistant director, told the station.
The team, whose nearly 300 members range in age from 8 to 21, are most well known for their appearances in the annual Bud Billiken Parade, but the drill team marches at roughly 125 events each year. Earlier this year, the team performed for First Lady Michelle Obama and the spouses of NATO world leaders in Chicago. Founded in 1980, they also were featured in the film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."
"I was very excited because it's a once in a lifetime chance," 17-year-old team member China Jones told the Chicago Defender of the honor. "I still think I'm dreaming!"
On its website, the team's mission is described as "a prevention program devoted to helping young people in some of Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods steer clear of gangs, drugs, and violence while developing a strong work ethic, self-confidence, and a respect for themselves and others."
The team was selected for the honor from a pool of some 2,800 applicants. The group also applied in 2008 but was not chosen by the Presidential Inaugural Committee.