Music Fest at Micke Grove to benefit homeless and their well-being
Lodi News-Sentinel - 7/19/2019
Jul. 19--Micke Grove Regional Park will be filled with sounds of jazz, rock and rhythm and blues next month, celebrating good physical and mental health.
The Stockton-based Elements of Peace Family and Friends Foundation is hosting is second annual Music Fest on Aug. 3 to raise funds that will benefit the homeless and their well-being.
"What we're trying to do is make the public aware of mental and physical ailments, and how they affect our homeless population," foundation co-founder Charlene Byrd said. "We all have families that are affected in some way by mental health and homelessness."
For Byrd, she has been personally affected by the two issues.
She said her daughter was diagnosed with depression several years ago, and one day she returned to her apartment after visiting Byrd to find her living space completely vacant.
Byrd said the landlord thought her daughter was moving out without paying a one month's rent and had cleared the apartment.
The incident increased her daughter's depression, and she decided she'd just become homeless.
"She didn't want to move back in with me, because she had lived on her own for so long, and she was an adult who could make her own decisions," Byrd said. "She was homeless for a year, and she would tell me she liked it. She became sort of a mentor to some of the other homeless people."
Byrd said it took several months to coax her daughter to come back home, but once she did, she enrolled in college, earned a degree, landed a job and her own apartment once again.
While it was a long and stressful process to get her daughter back on her feet, Byrd said it inspired her to help others in similar situations.
She and her husband Keith McGowan created Elements of Peace Family and Friends Foundation two years ago to help members of the homeless population turn their lives around.
McGowan is the leader of Elements of Peace, a music group that has been playing smooth jazz, rhythm and blues, rock and smooth rock for nearly 30 years. The group will be performing at the Music Fest with eight other acts.
"Our Music Fest is a celebration," he said. "(The nonprofit) does a lot of work with the homeless throughout the year, and this is a chance to bring everyone together to recognize that work we've done."
Other acts performing on Aug. 3 include Clifton Paige, Tony R; Bless Ya Soul, Iriefuse, Lenda Wheeler, Miss Deyonnah Bighem and Steve Perry (not the former Journey vocalist).
The event will also feature guest speakers who will discuss mental health, homeless issues and how to lead an overall healthy lifestyle.
Speakers include social workers, environmental scientists and representatives from the Center for Disease Control, among others.
Byrd said not only does the incorporation of her husband's music make their nonprofit unique, but the homeless people they are trying to serve help set up their events and provide a little bit of extra manpower as well.
"Our purpose is to help them help themselves," she said. "If you just give handouts, they don't fell loved or that personal connection with another person. They don't feel there's a reason to try and make any changes in their lives. What we do is help them get the confidence to get on their feet and back into the workforce."
Along with a variety of music, the Aug. 3 event, co-hosted by Bay Area radio station KBLX, will feature games for children, healthy food, artwork for sale and merchandise such as hats, CDs, t-shirts and soaps.
Admission to the event is free, but there is a $6 to park at Micke Grove.
The Family and Friends Music Fest 2 will be held in Micke Grove's Delta Section from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Micke Grove Park is located at 11793 Micke Grove Road in Lodi.
For more information about Elements of Peace Family and Friends Foundation or its Music Fest, visit www.elementsofpeacefoundation.com.
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