Category

Uncategorized

Do It For The Love Turns 5

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Lance Bass wishes DIFTL happy birthday!

August is the height of summer, a time filled with laughter, friends and family, and music. It’s also a very special month — it’s Do It For The Love’s birthday month.

This birthday for Do It For The Love is special. It’s our fifth birthday — only a handful of years in which we’ve made over 1600 musical wishes come true.

When I look back to the video of Steve and Hope Dezember that inspired Sara and Michael to create our organization, I am moved to tears, every single time. I’m so proud of all we have been able to accomplish since our “birth.”

In only 5 years we’ve shared the healing power of music with people as young as 3, and as mature as 89, taking our wish grant recipients to shows as varied and different as they are. From Sesame Street Live! to Hamilton to Taylor Swift, they’ve danced, sang and enjoyed a moment of connection, joy and love with their friends/family.

For our 5th Birthday we want to celebrate with you. We have several artists who are sharing their birthday shout outs for Do It For The Love. Each week you’ll enjoy videos, photos and more from celebrities, the Do It For The Love team, and our wish grant recipients.

Help us make more musical wishes come true. During our birth month we are raising $25,000. These funds will help us send those struggling with life’s worse situations to any live music experience they want.

Thank you for being a part of Do It For The Love. We couldn’t do our work without your generous support.

Volunteers Who Inspire

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Once again, we are left speechless over the remarkable strength and determination of our DIFTL family. An unstoppable force and DIFTL volunteer Julie Vernon was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent surgery to remove it. Not one to let anything hold her back, Julie wasted no time in turning a difficult health challenge into a cause for hope and healing.

The night before she was scheduled for surgery, Julie mobilized her community to come together for her Garden Party Fundraiser; not in honor of herself, but to raise funds to benefit DIFTL. An evening of live music, friends, family and fundraising against the backdrop of an enchanting garden made for a memorable and meaningful event.

Julie is currently recovering from a successful surgery, but that hasn’t slowed her down. She continues to raise awareness for DIFTL and we can’t wait to sing and dance with her once she makes her full recovery.

If you are interested in holding an event to support our mission to provide hope and healing through music, take a cue from Julie and host your own custom event! More information here.

 

Local, homegrown fundraisers make a lasting impact

By | Uncategorized | No Comments
Volunteers are an essential part of accomplishing Do It For The Love’s mission to provide the healing power of music to those who need it most. DIFTL volunteers organize local fundraisers and events, provide outreach to hospitals, healthcare facilities, and organizations to increase wish grant activity in their community, and support other DIFTL activities as needed.
Robin Handewerger recently hosted a DIFTL fundraiser at So i Heard Music, a musical school her daughter attends. So i Heard Music teaches all-levels music lessons to students in grades K-12 who are inspired to read, write, and record music. At a recent music recital held at the school, Robin and her daughter, Carly Rose, raised awareness for DIFTL while collecting donations towards making wish grant recipients dreams come true.
Do It For The Love is growing and strengthening our volunteer network. We are cultivating a community of local leaders, passionate change makers, and devoted volunteers across the nation. If you are interested in making an impact, click here.

Meet our Volunteer, Anne!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments
Tell us a little bit about yourself.

 

I worked for 27 years for an international organization and retired early in order to spend more time at what I love: learning about and teaching yoga. I am passionate about teaching the philosophy of this ancient practice in alignment with the poses. Currently, I teach at George Washington University; Yoga District, Simon Says Yoga, and have multiple private clients. I have 3 amazing daughters, 2 granddaughters and 2 cats, and I live in Takoma Park, MD.

I am also very passionate about music with a message.  Reggae is my number one love, and I managed a reggae band for a number of years in DC and was active in promotions of various reggae events.  In 2015, I created Yoga Reggae Fest with headliners Third World and Faith Hunter.  The purpose of this fest was to introduce healthy living alternatives to a community that has often been underserved.

 

What was your first impression of Do It For The Love?

It filled me with joy! I love Michael Franti: the man, the music and his commitment to living the main tenet of yoga: compassion and non-harming. I also have been wanting to do some karma yoga (giving back) and since I am a music fan–voila!

What are you most excited about with volunteering for Do It For The Love?

I can just imagine the intended person getting the confirmation that they will be a vip at the concert of their favorite artist! Their joy = my joy

What other causes and organizations are you passionate about?
I am a member of PETA as I am very anti-animal harm. I also follow PRCM (Physicians for Responsible Cancer Medicine) and have participated in some of their events.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering?

I would tell them to do it for the love 🙂

The DIFTL Wish Grant Community

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

At Do It For The Love, we think of our wish grant recipients as family. That’s a lofty term I know, but it underscores the connection and hope we have for those we serve. Learning about each person and their situation, hearing about the struggles they face on a daily basis inspires us to do as much as we can. Creating a moment of connection and joy for each person is more than our focus; it’s our driving passion.

When I think of some of the difficulties people experience — breast cancer that has spread to the brain, heart conditions that steal away the chance to run and to play, post traumatic stress that influences every moment, and more — I’m grateful that we get the chance to share the healing power of music. Even if it’s just one night where they are able to escape feeling like they ARE their illness, that they are confined by their struggles, that one night can bring hope.

Since I started with the organization last June, we have granted over 300 wishes. That’s 300 members of our DIFTL family who have sung along with Marc Anthony, danced to Katy Perry, shared smiles and laughs with Ozzy Osborne, sang holiday songs with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and more. The memories created and shared not only bring hope to the wish grant recipients, it also promotes the love between parents and their children, brothers and sisters, friends and extended family. And with us, the DIFTL team.

I’m so grateful for all we do to support our wish grant recipients. And all they share with us — their hopes, their dreams, their wishes. As our DIFTL family grows, so does the feeling of connection and care. And we treasure this connection beyond the wish grant — connecting with Do It For The Love means not only a wish; you are part of our community, part of our family. We are here to help support and celebrate you any way we can.

Here’s to all those who are our wish grant recipients, and our DIFTL family  — we are so grateful for you.

Meet our Volunteer, Colleen!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am mom to 11yr old Samantha and a Partner in Possibilities at Stellar Journeys, a meeting and incentive planning company. Ron and I have been married 13 years and have been enjoying our journey with Sam, Josi & Nala.

 

As a family, we are passionate about travel, spending time outdoors, live music and the arts. You will often find us either at an outdoor festival, on a local patio or at a music venue listening to live music, cheering Sam on at her softball games, hiking in North Georgia or biking the beltline in Atlanta.

 

When Sam was born, she taught me to slow down and smell the flowers and watch the butterflies – literally, on our camping trips and hikes I would catch myself moving at my normal pace and look around for Sam – she would be either taking the time out to smell the flowers or just watching where a butterfly was headed. I have learned to recognize that each moment in life is precious, try and take each one in and appreciate them all (good & bad) and to lend a hand to others along the way.

 

 

What was your first impression of Do It For The Love?
LOVE – I believe music has healing powers for anything. Whether someone is experiencing physical, emotional, financial hardships being able to shut out the world and lose yourself in music even for one day/night is truly healing and can make all the difference between giving up or going on. I believe DIFTL is making our world a kinder place.

 

What made you want to volunteer for Do It For The Love?

I experienced my first Michael Franti show at a festival in Atlanta. I had been trying to find a way to expand on our Cottage in the Back project and I knew after experiencing Michael Franti’s energy and the way he created inclusion with his whole audience, I had a feeling he was probably doing something amazing with his gift of music.

 

What are you most excited about with volunteering for Do It For The Love?

The day after my experience at Michael’s show, I started my research on what he may be doing with his energy and music. That is when I discovered DIFTL. I was really excited to learn that DIFTL was inspired by Steve & Hope, I had been following their story for a few years and saw Steve at a local Holiday show in Atlanta – I remember the emotion I felt watching Steve enjoy the show just like it was a normal night – however, I knew that it was not a normal night for him, but the effort to get him to the music was worth it to him and those who love him. That to me is the power and joy of music. I want to be a part of helping everybody have the opportunity to experience that joy.

What has surprised you the most about Do It For The Love?

The empowerment that they give to the community to go out and be ambassadors and spread the love and word the way that is best for you. I am not a jump in with 2 feet type of person, I am a slow and steady – I feel like DIFTL embraces and accepts you wherever you are on your journey.

What other causes and organizations are you passionate about?

My biggest passions are supporting live music and children.

About 4 years ago, I started Cottage in the Back – we host singer/songwriters in our backyard where they can share their stories and their music with a quiet thoughtful audience. We ask for a donation and 100% goes directly to the artist. It is our way of giving back by supporting live music and bringing the community together. It has been a grassroots passion and I hope that one day we will be able to use CitB as a support for artists as well as giving back to non profits.

Project House of Hope – I met Amy Fletcher when Samantha sang at her fundraiser. In 2012 Amy traveled to Haiti, saw a need and knew she wanted to make an impact. She came back home and jumped full speed into her fight for the orphans of Haiti. Not only does she provide for the children, she now focuses on community development. I had the pleasure of meeting the children of HOH a few years ago and look forward to going back again one day. Amy is such an inspiration of leading with your heart and the rest will fall into place.
Vieques – Boys & Girls Club & Escuela Monte Santo. The Island of Vieques had been struggling to find their identity again after fighting (and winning) to get their land back after 60 years of military bombing practice. After this latest hurricane they experienced a set back in reclaiming their Island life. I spent some time with the school and the B&G Club singing songs, doing some yoga and exchanging lots of hugs. I hope to go back soon to lend my support.
Playing for Change – A movement created to inspire and connect the world through music.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering?

I would say welcome to the journey – let’s do this!! ☺ Remember “Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world” – Desmond Tutu

Meet our Volunteer, Amanda!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments
Tell us a little bit about yourself.

 

I live in Decatur, Illinois, and I work for the county’s Regional Office of Education. I work as an assistant with the Technical Academy. Our mission is to bring vocational training back to area high school students by providing skills in trade programs such as Nursing, Welding, Automotive Technology, Culinary Arts, and more.

My husband, Drew Burger, is a tattoo artist and owner/operator of his own tattoo & art studio. We have two children together – our fifteen year old son, Izaiah, who is an amazing artist as well; and our eleven year old music-loving daughter, Amelie. One of her first concert experiences was at age six when we took her to see Michael Franti in St. Louis.

At home, there are always art projects going on – drawing, painting, sculpting, wood working, jewelry making. When we are not at home, we enjoy time outdoors together usually camping and kayaking or hiking around with our two bulldogs.

 

What was your first impression of Do It For The Love?

I learned about Do It For the Love when I attended a concert of Michael Franti’s. If you’ve ever seen Michael in concert, you know he has an amazing stage presence – he is a positive and energetic force that really connects with his audience. I was pretty confident that he would bring those same qualities to this organization and would assemble a team with the same dynamic. When I started doing more research on DIFTL and talking to other volunteers, I could tell this was the case. All the volunteers described the work as very rewarding and fun. And the testimonials from families who have had wishes granted were so full of gratitude and kindness. I immediately knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.

 

What made you want to volunteer for Do It For The Love?

Live music events create such a unique atmosphere – you are surrounded by strangers, but the energy of the crowd and of the energy of the music makes everyone feel very connected to one another. You feel part of something so much bigger than yourself, a part of something special. And when you go to see your favorite band and hear your favorite songs, you completely forget about everything else that may be going on in life. It’s a very “living for the moment” feeling. This experience is such a beautiful gift to provide to someone who has faced severe challenges in life and who may be in need of having a positive experience. I wanted to do my part in helping DIFTL provide this gift to so many others. 

What are you most excited about with volunteering for Do It For The Love?

I am very excited that while I’m volunteering with DIFTL I’m connecting with so many new people throughout the Mid-West region as well as across the country. Prior to this, I’ve only volunteered with local projects. So it’s interesting to be working on something on a much bigger scale. This opportunity has allowed me to meet people from all different locations all with different backgrounds. It’s really great to be able to share our stories with one another.

 

What has surprised you the most about Do It For The Love?

I’ve been most surprised that every single volunteer gets to have a voice, which I feel is pretty unique considering that this is a nationwide organization. Everyone is encouraged to share their ideas and visions on how to successfully create awareness for DIFTL and how to assist with fundraising events. That type of environment creates the feeling of being part of a team. Volunteers aren’t present just to do the little things; you get to play an active role in this mission.

 

What other causes and organizations are you passionate about?

I am very passionate about being an active member in my local community. I previously worked as the Personnel Director for our county’s prosecutor’s office. During my seven years there, I assisted in supervising a non-profit organization that worked specifically with children who are the victims of crimes. We were also blessed to have a Domestic Violence Unit whose staff was incredible. They continuously worked hard to support the victims of domestic abuse. It was a very educational experience for me to work with such a great team and learn the criminal justice system.

I continue to support these efforts in my community.

I am also very passionate about education and advocacy for animals & pets. I currently serve as Treasurer/Secretary for a local non-profit, Soy City Animal Rescue & Relief Fund, that encourages animal rights and provides funding for local rescue agencies.

 

 

What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering?

No matter what type of volunteer work you are looking for, you will find an opportunity available with DIFTL. If you want to help out in your local community, you can do so by helping to raise awareness of DIFTL’s mission. If you want to help out on bigger scale, you will have the opportunity to help with creating and organizing fundraising events. Or if you like to help those in need, you can work with educating and assisting people who could be possible gift recipients of a DIFTL wish grant. There’s something for everyone. DIFTL is a very positive and energetic team to work with that has a very unique mission. You really will be part of something special.

DIFTL Goes to Pollstar

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Recently Alexis, our Program Manager, and I attended the Pollstar Conference in Los Angeles. Pollstar is the resource for in-depth information about the music industry. From publishing the hottest concert tours before tickets are available to listing highest grossing concerts, Pollstar is the source for tracking trends and activities for the music industry.

This was Do It For The Love’s second year attending the conference. Our goal was to increase awareness of who we are, and our mission. We’ve been incredibly lucky in our four plus years in existence to gain supporters who not only “get” our mission but also want to do whatever they can to help us bring the healing power of music to those who need it most. But while we have avid supporters, arguably awareness of who we are remains low, particularly in the music industry. The Pollstar Conference gave us a chance to introduce our wish grant program to those who can help us get the tickets to bring people to their music event of choice.

We met some incredible people over the two days of the conference. One that stays in mind is a gentleman who has a child with special needs. Working in the music industry, he has been investigating ways to make music more accessible for kids like his. Once he came across our booth and heard about our work, his smile and excitement was tangible. Hearing how we’ve brought adults, children and wounded vets to concerts ranging from Lady Gaga to Blake Shelton to Bruno Mars, he’s now investigating how he can best support our efforts through his connections.

Another person we met is involved in the airline industry. Transportation to and from live music events can be difficult for wish grant recipients to plan and to pay for. While we do help defray costs, it can be a daunting task to organize travel when you are struggling with treatments. Her effusive personality was addictive; in just a few moments from when we met she began brainstorming ways in which she can connect us with airlines, with private planes, with pilots to see what sort of partnership could be created. While we are in the very earliest stages of discussion, I’m excited to see where it goes.

Pollstar was an amazing, energizing experience on many levels. However, while Alexis and I made some incredible connections, there is still so much more we can all do to support our efforts. We are grateful for a vibrant community who is driven to help support our efforts. I’m hopeful that some of the concepts, some of the connections we made may blossom to make more musical wishes come true. I met two wonderful college students who were volunteering at the conference. Talking with them, seeing the spark in their eyes, I know they will be ardent supporters back in Boston while they are in school. It’s their enthusiasm that helps bolster our spirit, elevates our hopes, and makes our goal of fulfilling close to 600 wish grants this year possible.

If you have any ideas on how you could support Do It For The Love, let us know. It’s our community, our Do It For The Love family, that makes it possible for us to do the work we do. Here’s to many more great connections, many more volunteers, many more supporters helping to share the music that can change lives.

Meet our Volunteer, Natalie!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Natalie, I am a stay at home mom to four amazing blessings.  We homeschool our children also! Our oldest daughter is 12 and critically ill/special needs. She truly is our beautiful miracle.  Our six year old daughter was born on the Fourth of July and is our little firecracker.  Our four year old daughter is such a healing soul, and our one year old son is our relaxed little man that completed our family.  My husband and I met in high school, and I am blessed to get to spend my days with my soulmate.  Our family likes to do things together, and we love to go to the beach.  My husband and I love our biggest hobby of coaching Special Olympics.  Spending my time helping my kids grow and helping others in need is probably the largest thing that makes my heart happy.

What was your first impression of Do It For The Love?

I found Do It For The Love when Michael first started the organization. I immediately submitted a wish for our daughter, and she was approved! We waited three years for her wish for Michael to be close enough to our home to see him.  One thing that stood out to me was that DIFTL stayed in contact with me for three years so that we knew we weren’t forgotten.  Not many organizations do that! Once we had her wish, the night was more than we could have ever imagined it would be!!

What made you want to volunteer for Do It For The Love?

After Ryleigh’s wish was granted, my husband and I both knew we wanted to give DIFTL our time in any way we could! I felt that my love for helping others in need combined with being a mother of an actual wish recipient helped me to be able to go above the level of just a basic volunteer and share the love that our family received from our daughter’s wish with others.  I know what something like this means to families and to be able to help others feel the same is very important in my life.

What are you most excited about with volunteering for Do It For The Love?

I am most excited to help people have a once in a lifetime experience when their wish is granted.  I want to continue to see DIFTL flourish and look forward to being a part in making that happen in any way I can.

What has surprised you the most about Do It For The Love?

Honestly, knowing what we know about Michael and Sara, nothing really surprised me. They have such amazing hearts and when someone’s heart is in the right place, you are going to see beautiful things happen!

What other causes and organizations are you passionate about?

My biggest passion without a doubt is Special Olympics.  My husband and I serve on the board of our Carrollton/Farmers Branch Cyclones Special Olympics.  We both head coach and assistant coach multiple sports and volunteer at events we do not coach.  Our daughter and other athletes are such a ray of sunshine I couldn’t imagine going through life not being part of it.  I also run social media pages for Hugginz By Angel.  It is a non profit for a woman with Down syndrome that makes hand made quilts for critically ill children all over the world.  I love connecting with the world that so many people forget about.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering?

Don’t just volunteer to go to a concert.  Know that when you are volunteering, you are helping change someone’s life and affecting their family in such a positive way.  What’s more fun in knowing not only are you brightening someone’s life in a dark time, but you are having such a fun time while doing it!  Don’t ever think that any volunteering even if it is in a small way doesn’t matter.  It matters more than you know.