#BigThingsThursday is a weekly series of short interviews with people who are doing big things for the community and for the world. If you know someone who's doing big things, let me know: BigThings@LucyKalantari.com.
As we're deep into the holiday season, the joy of spreading joy deepens, generosity blooms and opportunities to give are multiplied by a gazillion! It's a busy time, and a beautiful time. One of these opportunities to practice generosity is presented by Toys for Tots, who have been around since 1947. Their mission is simple: collect toys for families who can't afford to buy gifts for their children for Christmas. We see the special bins in stores every year around this time. This went on to inspire something else...
Meet Jason Didner, a children's artist who teamed up with Steve Denyes to do Tunes for Tots–because we know the long, long list of benefits of music in children's lives. CD donations can go to the Toys for Tots bins, or to a charity like Happy Star Melodies, to give to children battling serious illnesses.
Q. BIG THINGS begin with an intention, what is yours?
A. When I learned Steve was doing Tunes for Tots, his project spoke directly to my intention to make a difference in the lives of as many children as I could, starting with making it possible for kids to feel included in the holiday season when it comes to receipts gifts. The notion of being able to do greater good with the help of my audience really appealed to me.
Q. How are you fulfilling this intention?
A. When a fan orders a CD or buys one at a live show, I donate a matching copy to Toys for Tots or another charity that supplies gifts to disadvantaged children. Perhaps I can't write a big ol' check, but when my fans do this with me, we can do bigger things.
Q. What barriers have you encountered, and how have you dealt with them?
A. During the holiday season, my fans receive so much advertising everywhere they look, so my message has to stand out, whether through email, social media or at our live shows, Usually the mention of Tunes for Tots is met with applause. I think there's appeal at holiday time for the idea of a purchase doing some good for children in need.
Extra: Share a favorite quote that keeps you motivated.
"It ain't over 'til it's over."
- Yogi Berra (who lived in my hometown Montclair, NJ
Thank you Jason for spreading that love, joy and the healing qualities found in music. For more info on Jason's participation in Tunes for Tots, click here.