Recently we folks at Students Rebuild have been talking with SR teams about how they came to support Haiti, and we've got some pretty interesting stories...most certainly press-worthy, not to mention blog-worthy. We're starting a series of team stories on Field Notes–if we haven't contacted your team yet, rest assured we will be soon!
Last May 40 musicians assembled in a redwood-nestled Northern California town to Rock the Rebuild of a Caribbean nation. Complete with banners, a set stage, concessions and an emcee, 10 bands rocked through a Memorial Day afternoon to a full crowd on behalf of Haitian schools and in the name of Students Rebuild. These bands are middle and high school students, Student Rebuild teams and passionate supporters of their Haitian peers.
On December 12, the youth shall rock the rebuild again at their third concert in Mill Valley.
VOTE FOR PEDRO had the honor of performing in May and will be returning for next week's concert. A 5-member group of 6th Graders at Marin Country Day School, VOTE FOR PEDRO raised nearly $4,000 around their show by emailing members of their community for support. They wrote and dedicated the lo-fi gem "We Got To Help" for the occasion.
The third concert will see several return appearances, as well as a few new faces. The concert's coordinator, Dr. Charles McDonald, is naturally pretty excited about this latest installment, and the members' continued participation. He saw in Youth Rock a terrific opportunities to introduce philanthropic service and sustained engagement to an increasingly internationally-focused young demographic. This vision matured immediately following the Haitian earthquake–the first Youth Rock concert was held some ten days after the disaster, when a concerned community centered around Mill Valley came together in the face of disaster and raised $11,000 for Doctors without Borders, an aid organization already operating in Haiti.
When Students Rebuild formed shortly thereafter, Charlie discovered the perfect vehicle for youth engagement and service. He dedicated the following two 2010 concerts to support Students Rebuild's pursuit of $1M dollars for Haitian schools.
Youth Rock the Rebuild has actually been a long time in the making, Charlie admits. It really started in 2006, when the band, then known as Chasing Maya, responded to a request by the founders of Common River to support their efforts to help the children of Aleta Wondo, Ethiopia. They were in need of a schoolhouse. The Band, then composed of 9 11-year-olds, decided to do a concert fundraiser. Enough money was raised that the schoolhouse was indeed built. The children of Aleta Wondo honored the band by naming the school “Chasing Maya Schoolhouse”. In subsequent fundraising concerts, the band, now known as Third Rock, raised money for a milk cow, chickens and clean water. The schoolhouse now has over 130 students, many orphans or at risk. The band is now known for its social consciousness, and has played at several fundraisers.
Supporting Haiti, then, made perfect sense. Charlie hopes to follow the construction of the 10 schools that Students Rebuild will ultimately support. But the dream doesn't end there. Much like Students Rebuild, Youth Rock hopes to carry on after Haiti's gets back on its feet, and address other areas of philanthropic interest. Youth Rock the Rebuild is a very interesting community project–in that it helps rebuild abroad while building a community of young rockers at home.