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We Are Building Lives hosts live in-studio concert

The mission of We Are Building Lives is to “Leave no veteran behind;” the goal is to support and transition homeless veterans into a productive member of the community. 
 
Keni Thomas
Since We Are Building Lives began working with area homeless veterans seven years ago, more than 600 veterans have been assisted in a variety of ways and more than 300 veterans moved from the streets to a home.
 
For the sixth year, a concert to help fund the work of WABL will be held at the Sound Kitchen on Seaboard Lane in Franklin. 
 
This year’s event will be Saturday, March 1 beginning with a 5:30 p.m. private cocktail hour and meet and greet with the artists for VIP sponsors. 
 
Doors open for the concert at 6:30 p.m. and the music starts at 7 p.m. Commemorative T-shirts are available for $12.
 
This year’s line up includes two veterans.
 
Keni Thomas, a U.S. Army Ranger who was part of the 1993 Black Hawk Down Mission in Mogadishu, Somalia, is now a performing artist and spokesperson for veterans and Markus Fox, who became a signed recording artist. 
 
Also joining the list of performers are local singer/songwriters Doc Holiday and Walt Aldridge. Gary Morris is flying in from Colorado to lend his voice to the list. Headlining the show in time to celebrate the Beatles’ 50th anniversary, The WannaBeatles will rock the house Fab 4 tunes.
 
Two Starz on Guitars featuring Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash will be on the auction block along with a variety of packages and services.
 
More than 21 percent of Nashville’s homeless are honorably discharged veterans. The Building Lives Foundation was developed by a group of Middle Tennessee business leaders who recognized the need to assist Nashville’s homeless veterans. 
 
It provides one-on-one mentoring, secures housing, health and psychological care referrals, employment, housing, transportation, financial education and VA benefit assistance to assist with transition into the community.
 
Building Lives annually helps 45 to 55 veterans and veteran’s families.
 
“Last year we were able to help 56,” said Tim Gregath, executive director. 
 
“That included 17 families with 24 kids. We help male and female veterans and families. Our only requirement is they have to be a veteran and they have to be homeless.”
 
A hand up
“We help them get off the streets permanently, but the individual has to make the decision,” Gregath said. “They have to want to turn their life around.”
Through housing partners, WABL finds housing, helps the veteran get a job and teaches them how to manage their money. 
 
The veteran must stay clean and sober, maintain a job and pay their bills.
WABL makes sure apartments are fully furnished, down to tableware, cookware, towels and bedding. 
 
“We’ve built up a relationship with corporate partners who will hire our participants,” Gregath said. “They have to have a job to sustain independent living.”
 
The veterans aren’t left to fend for themselves. WABL provides a variety of options and opportunities to access resources for budgetary training and basic life skills guidance. 
 
Mentors lend support by staying close for the first year as the vet learns to navigate their new life, and then begins to allow the veteran space for independent growth.
 
Tickets for the We Are Building Lives studio concert are $125 in advance and $150 at the door. There are still a few table sponsors available for $1,000, $1,500 or $2,500 for the VIP section. Buy tickets online at www.WeAreBuildinglives.org. Interested sponsors may call Valerie Blonder at 579-4955 or email  vvblonder@soundkitchen.com
 

Posted on: 2/20/2014

 
 

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