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Event of the Week, Non-Profit

Event of the Week: National HCS Benefit Gala

By admin June 12, 2015

Singer/Songwriter Helps Soldiers with PTSD

Most people know about the healing power of music. Hearing lyrics or a melody that speaks to the soul does wonders for keeping spirits high. Music can help in more direct ways, too. Singer/songwriter Jessie Tylre Williams understands that sometimes a benefit concert is the best way to raise money for good causes.

Williams began her House Concert Series of Benefit Galas on April 18 in Innisfail, AB to help raise awareness and fundraise for Canadian troops with PTSD. Her nationwide concert series will benefit Wounded Warriors Canada (WWC), and has the support of the troops, Can Praxis Equine and Royal Canadian Legions across Canada.

WWC began in 2006 after the family of injured reservist Mike McTeague noticed that he and his fellow military engineers, who had been attacked by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan, had few of the comforts of home as they recovered from their injuries in Germany. The charity supports “all Canadian Forces members wounded on operations” and improves “the general morale and welfare of injured soldiers and their families.”

Benefit

They “provide a spectrum of care that is focused on mental health,” particularly PTSD. Programs include COPE couples PTSD therapy, Can Praxis Equine animal therapy, fly fishing and service dog programs for those with the disorder. They also provide financial assistance to the Veterans Transition Network and Veterans Emergency Transition Services to help those groups with their missions.

After trying to get started with government support, but getting bogged down in red tape, Williams decided to go it alone, putting her own money into setting up the first shows. She hopes to perform in 40 cities across the country and raise $500,000, with a portion of the proceeds staying in each town the concerts take place.

The planning process, which Williams says is “very time consuming and rewarding at the same time,” has included using every means of publicity available to her, including print collateral, television/radio ads, interviews, word of mouth, internet advertising and social networking.

Williams is proud that her shows have become memorable. “All of our events have emotional periods,” she says. “Especially when we have vets who share their stories with us. We have bag pipers, legion delegates and many great speakers at our galas. During dinner there’s an acoustic show where I perform an original song I wrote for our troops called “My Soldier Song,” followed by a full performance with my band at each event.”

How do you fundraise for your favorite causes?