When I entered Kathryn Lasky’s media studies senior community involvement class, I thought, no big deal. Members of the class must simply take the skills that they have acquired through their educational career and volunteer them to a nonprofit community group. I had volunteered at the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society when I was in junior high and thought it would be a great time to help them again, only this time with more skills than simply cleaning out dog cages. My project partner, Sara Pratt, and I decided to work with the shelter to put together a benefit concert.

Although we are not concert promoters, we figured this would be a good chance to do some event coordination and put our creativity to the test with some advertising. We began by searching for an animal whose image we could use to draw people into the show. After walking through the dog kennels we found our coverboy — a 1-year-old terrier mix named Justice. He sat there eagerly wagging his tail, hoping to find a home. From then on the concert was called “Jammin’ for Justice.” He is only one of the 4,000 sick, homeless, and abused animals that the shelter takes in yearly.

Putting together this concert has been more difficult than I could have ever expected. We worked numerous hours when it seemed as though we were simply trudging through the mud. Many times, it felt that our destination was out of reach and it would have been so nice to throw in the towel. Yet, it was at these points when we would walk through the kennels and cat room and see why we were doing all of this; it was not in vain. Through all the frustration, it is the animals that keep us going. One such animal is a 4-week-old puppy named Clifford who was found alone, abandoned on the streets of Lewiston. He is so young, that the shelter employees must feed him with a baby bottle. Every time I see how helpless this little animal is, it gives me the inspiration to pick up the telephone again and ask people to volunteer their time and skills. The livelihood of these animals depends on people like you and me. Each individual who helps this cause is ensuring safety and security for the animals of Androscoggin County for years to come.

Everything has started to come together, and on Friday, April 6, at 7 p.m., Central Maine Technical College is going to jam for Justice. No matter what your musical interest, the show will entice you in one way or another. So far we have two Portland bands, the Taxi’s and Phlux, who are donating their time and talent for this great cause. The Taxi’s is a five-member SKA/Punk band that plays under the NorthEast Indie label. One of their members, Josh Malia, is a USM freshman. Phlux is a rock trio with the two Phipps brothers both attending schools within the University of Maine system. Cody is a USM senior while Clint attends the University of Maine School of Law. We are still looking for one or two more bands interested in playing for this cause. If you are interested please contact us at [email protected] or at 772-8088.

Working on this show has given me a whole new insight about life and how important volunteer work really is. I have learned not to let frustration get the best of me because what is going to come out of this is not only a great chance to gain some experience in special events coordination for my resume, but the feeling that I have done something good to help animals in need. The only problem I truly face is not adopting every cute and cuddly animal here!

Tickets are $7, and can be bought at all Bull Moose Music stores until the concert, at the Woodbury Campus Center, April 5 and 6 between 11 a.m.-1 p.m., and may also be purchased at the door the night of the concert. All the proceeds will go to the daily operation costs of the shelter. Currently, the Humane Society is in the middle of a capital campaign to raise $1.8 million dollars for a new building. That makes $7 for a single ticket seem like nothing. Please consider helping our cause and come join us on April 6 when “Jammin’ For Justice” rocks the Lewiston-Auburn area.

For more information, please contact Kathleen Dostie or Sara Pratt at 207-772-8088 or e-mail [email protected] Also check us out on the Web at: www.gahumane.org.

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