Contributed by Elizabeth Shemaria, a Red Cross Regional Communications Specialist in San Francisco
What started as a junior high graduation requirement turned into much more for a dedicated Marin teen.
John Van Liere, a 13-year-old from Greenbrae, wanted to do something to help people affected by Hurricane Sandy as part of his service project requirement at Kent Middle School. For the project, he decided to raise money for the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter, by putting on a benefit concert. John—who edits the yearbook, is on the basketball team, and plays the drums in the school band—was required to complete 10 hours of service and give a presentation about his project.
When Sandy hit the East Coast, he began a three-week process to organize a concert. With seven bands and more than 35 local junior high and high school-age musicians, he says he put in a total of 24 hours of work.
“He really went above and beyond,” said John’s mom, Susan Van Liere.
Promotions for the event included posters at school, a Facebook page, and an Indiegogo crowdfunding page. Donations were collected at the concert as well as online through Indiegogo, which raised $1,400. Each musician was required to raise a minimum of $25 to participate in the concert. One musician with family in New Jersey raised more than $1,000.
The Marin Independent Journal donated space for a full-page advertisement in their publication. The concert venue was donated by the Marin Country Mart and Bel Campo in Larkspur.
“I definitely raised more money than I thought I would. I’m glad there were so many people there,” said John. “I’m looking forward to the next concert.”
The money raised at the concert contributed more than $2.6 million to help people affected by Sandy.