About a week ago, Aileen Bennett asked me to be a part of the Do Good Project, a brilliant idea she has put together that involves giving 22 people $50 each and asking them to Do Good.
There were lots of options to Do Good. Narrowing the field has been a challenge. Ultimately, I had to go with my gut (and heart).
Here’s some background:
My 14-year-old daughter is not a fan of math. Neither is her mother. We decided a math tutor was in order. At the advice of a friend, we have hired her son, who happens to be a 15-year-old math wizard. About that, I will say this: If ever you’re looking for a math tutor for a 14-year-old girl, a 15-year-old math-wizard-genius-boy is an off-the-charts good idea.
All math comes easy for this kid. He doesn’t miss a beat in explaining it in terms she can understand. I really don’t know if he’s ever missed a math problem in his life. I hear there are others, even stronger math wizards, but math wizardry is a difficult thing for me to comprehend. The interesting thing about this particular math wizard does not lie in his mathematical prowess.
The interesting thing is that what he really wants to be is a rapper—and not just any rapper, but a really good, clever rapper.
In his words, he “works hard for his rhymes.” He gets frustrated at lazy rappers who don’t do the same.
I have never been a big fan of rap.
But this kid’s rap makes me enjoy a style of music I didn’t expect to like—it’s clever. It’s fun. It’s good. It’s smart. He rhymes words like Uncle Sam/Vietnam or meet that quota/small Toyota/Master Yoda.
Here’s are a few lines from one of his songs:
I’m tall like a giraffe.
Strong like a bison.
I eat so many ears of corn.
They call me Mike Tyson.
The hard work he puts into his rhymes pays off. He’s got a few YouTube videos and facebook fans, but he’s never performed live.
So, I thought, “With my $50, I’ll put on a concert and ask some other local musicians to join us and give this 15-year-old future rap sensation the chance to debut his live music.”
We’re going to call the concert iShare.
To attend the performance, concertgoers will bring and donate new or gently used ipods (yes, there is a generation that gets new, improved, better ipods when their old ipods still work). For the rest of us, we can donate music CDs. (In full disclosure, the ipod idea was the rapper’s.)
The Extra Mile, a local non-profit, will give the ipods and appropriate music to teens and pre-teens who may not be receiving anything else this Christmas.
“We get stuff for the babies and the little ones, but for our older kids…nobody knows what to do for them. This is perfect!” said Linda Boudreaux, executive director of The Extra Mile.
Of course, the non-profit will also accept money to buy the gifts, as well.
I’ve spoken to established, professional musicians. They are on board to make this concert happen—including the fabulous Kevin Sekhani.
On the other hand, the 15-year-old rapper is having second thoughts. He’s just not sure he will be able to perform live. He’s nervous. He may opt for a video performance. Either way, we’ll have a concert and Do Good.
As my column deadline approaches, details for iShare are being finalized. The concert will be at 6 p.m., Dec. 18—one week from today. We’re finalizing the location. Stay tuned or email me to learn more.
What I can tell you is this; there is a lot of opportunity to do good. Ultimately, I decided that music and the fulfillment of dreams could make a big difference in the lives of many.
Getting other people on board to Do Good is remarkably easy. People want to help. They want to Do Good too. Being a part of something good that takes on a life of its own is the stuff of dreams that stays with you for years to come and warms your heart when it’s cold outside.
If you’d like to help with this project in any way, please contact me.
Jan Risher’s column, Long Story Short, appears on Sundays. Email her at Jan@JanRisher.com.