I'm not exactly sure if I'm a donor or a volunteer! I became aware of Sweet Relief through a memorial concert for a dear friend.As an uninsured person who was fortunate enough to have the state cover my recent cancer surgery I am very much aware of the lack of coverage and care for those of us who make our living in the arts. After my surgery I suffered a series of losses from having my clothes stolen to having my car blow up . All I had left was self-pity. And then one day something went CLICK . If I can't help myself, why don't I do something to help Somebody Else. I had already donated a small amount of money to the Robin Sylvester Fund at Sweet Relief and got an idea. That was the birth of the Filaments Project : asking musicians to donate their used guitar strings, making jewelry out of them and donating all of the profits to Sweet Relief. Since February 2012 I have collected hundreds of guitar strings from old school friends, people I see playing guitars on the street and some of the biggest stars in the music world today. I sell them to people I meet on the bus and I sell them on eBay and since February I have earned just over a thousand dollars to donate. Life-changing? This project has given me a Life, a career, a mission and the very best side-effect of all, the love and gratitude of people who have been brought closer to the people who give them their greatest joy. I'm not a musician by any means, and Sweet Relief saved my life. I hope to keep doing this work for the rest of my life.
My husband is a musician, who was lucky enough to be on my health insurance policy when he was diagnosed with cancer. His bills were over a million dollars, but insurance covered most everything. We have lots of friends, his bandmates, other peers in the industry that are not so lucky. Musicians spend their lives feeding our souls, nurturing the parts of our spirit that are inspired by creativity, art, community, and love. Even professional players who have supported themselves playing music their whole lives... may one day lose the ability to move their hands. Or they may have an accident, suffer financial hardship, or get cancer. Lots of charities will help get instruments to children. Lots will help school programs develop this love... then what? Those children grow up to be adults who give back to society, share the talent they were born with, work very hard their whole lives... and no one is there to offer them help when they need it most. SWEET RELIEF DOES!!! This incredible team, run by only a handful of experienced, dedicated souls..are able to provide emergency financial assistance to musicians in need, due to disability, age, or illness. Even more impressive- they do so with administrative overhead costs around 7%. They are personally involved in all their work, and care deeply about the musicians they help nationwide. Lastly, this group allows you to give by genre (love jazz?), region (yay new orleans!), by individual (through private funds), or many other ways to make sure your intent is matched very specifically with the people they are helping. I jumped in to help with social media on an event they were benefitting from...this led to an increased role as production manager, and now into spreading the good word about such a great group! They truly allow their volunteers to do what they love, with the common goal of helping musicians who have all given us so much.