Austin, Texas. As tens of thousands of people geared up for this year’s Austin City Limits festival, one kid in particular was more nervous than anyone else. Ten year-old Jackson Wreden was due to play his favorite violin all weekend. But not just because he dreams of becoming a musical maestro. Oh no.
The young fiddler was playing the popular music event in order to raise money. His goal? $1,000. The charity? Austin Pets Alive! A foundation set up to help animals affected by Hurricane Harvey. The devastating natural disaster displaced a lot of pets and Jackson here really wanted to help.
Hurricane Harvey caused almost unprecedented havoc in the US recently. There were 77 confirmed fatalities and more than $70bn worth of damage done. But while most of the problems have been measured in human terms, Jackson was more interested in the issues that local animals have had to face since the shocking winds blew in.
To get people to put their hands in their pockets, he stationed himself outside the festival entrance with a series of homemade signs and his violin. Then he just started playing!
“I really love pets,” Jackson says, “and I really love animals, and I want to help them out. Now they don’t have their families anymore,” he went on. “And they need new families.”
Other kids were raising raising at the festival too. Like the pupils of Austin High School. The school rented out their parking lot for $40 a space. A neat idea that bolstered the school’s music department nicely.
“We think it’s a great deal,” Renee Toy, mother to an AHS senior, said.
Renee has volunteered at the fundraising event every year that her son has attended the school. The money that is raised usually goes towards things like buying instruments, taking on consultants and paying for travel expenses.
“I think every year we raise between $9,000-$10,000,” she continued. “All of that goes straight to the band. Several organizations get to participate. So today is the band fundraiser, last night was theater and next Saturday will be for the football team.”
Jackson hit his target of a thousand bucks and his friends and family could not have been more supportive, pleased or proud of him. His was a truly selfless act and he’s done a lot of good the community and, of course, for the animals. And the youngsters at Austin High School did great too…
Good work, kids!