NORTH SHORE MIDDLE SCHOOLER ROCKS OUT FOR VETERANS
By Elizabeth Winchester
June 7, 2016 -- Jacob Lando loves to play the drums, trumpet, piano, and to sing. On June 5, the 13 year old combined his musical interests with his love of dogs and gratitude for veterans to support a meaningful cause. Jacob hosted a benefit concert—Rock ‘n’ Roll for the Soul—at Still Partners in Sea Cliff, raising awareness of and money for America’s VetDogs. The national non-profit organization trains and provides service dogs to veterans, to help them live independently.
“I like dogs and I also like helping veterans,” says Jacob, whose grandfather served in World War II. He decided to focus on the cause for his mitzvah project, which is something that kids preparing for a bar or bat mitzvah do to help the community. Jacob’s parents helped him come up with the idea of having a concert to raise money.
Community members gladly donated time and services to support the event. Dan Roth, co-owner of Still Partners and a drummer, gave Jacob use of his restaurant and bar. “I love music. I love animals. I love dogs,” Roth shares, “and there’s no guide cat association as far as I know ;)”
Professional musician and music teacher Frank Ferrara made the event possible. He gave his time and talent, arranging for many of his student bands to play at the concert, which ran from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Jacob played with his Broken System bandmates Griffin Olitsky and James Roth, to close the show. “It was great for these kids to have the opportunity to perform and to experience the sense of helping others through their music,” says Ferrara. “It was a wonderful day.”
Ferrara, Roth, and local musician Joe Ciampa played too, which was an extra bonus for listeners. Roth and Ciampa each have a son in the band Night Fury, which opened the concert. Jazz musician Walter Barr sat in with his grandson Sam.
America’s VetDogs volunteer Helen Westerman was at the event with an ambassador dog, which is a dog used to breed puppies for the program. In order to do his fundraising project, Jacob visited the organization and had his project approved. So far Jacob has raised around $1,700 towards his goal of $6,000, which is what it costs to become a puppy sponsor. That money goes towards the more than $50,000 total spent on breeding, raising, training, placing, and caring for one service dog.
Jacob will get to choose the color, gender, and breed of the puppy he sponsors when he reaches his goal. He will also get to name the puppy. But most importantly, he’ll know that his dog will help a veteran with a disability to live a fuller life. Visit Jacob’s fundraising page at rockandroll4soul.vetdogs.org to donate.
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