Maui in Ithaca Makes Waves in South Burlington
By Tonya West It was Summer in South Burlington, when the band Maui in Ithaca took to the stage and performed for a gathering of teens and families at the National Night Out event in early August.
For the past 24 years, the first Tuesday of August is officially National Night Out, a 38 million strong event that drew upwards of 5,000 people locally to increase crime and drug prevention awareness and strengthen police-community partnerships. For this event, Big Heavy World collaborated with another organization, Partnership for Youth and Community Empowerment, to support positive youth involvement in the community through music.
“I heard great reviews of the band.” commented Catherine Welch, primary coordinator of the event. "I really hope we can continue this collaboration in the future.”
“I think the band idea was great for this year,” said volunteer Jasmine Parsia, who helped her mother (Diane Parsia, president of the PYCE board) with the event. “I will definitely go and help out again next year."
“National Night Out is a very critical event, particularly in the South Burlington area,” continued Jasmine, whose been attending since childhood. “Not to say that it shouldn't be done in neighboring towns or attended by people within those towns. It's clear that the families in the area are aware of what's going on in the community and want to be involved in fixing anything that may come up. I think National Night Out is great about informing people about resources, while still keeping it fun.”
A volunteer with Big Heavy since the age of 17, Joseph Beaulieu - now 26 - helped coordinate the music for National Night Out. “I got into underground music through 242 Main (Burlington’s teen center). A lot of Burlington bands in the area are steadfast behind 242 and the kids who go to these events have taken a vow (of abstinence from all narcotics) called the ‘straight edge movement.’ I see that having a lot of draw (for National Night Out) down the road.”
“The whole idea of the National Night Out is great, supporting healthy life styles, drug free, alcohol free and so on” said Christopher Cormier, of Maui in Ithaca, who also performed a solo acoustic set called “A History of Magic.” “Although WE as a band would never push a life style upon someone or, push our life choices onto people, we think that educating people in such areas is vital. Getting information to teens about things they are going to have to deal with is always a good thing.”
Since 1998, PYCE has served the South Burlington community through its mentor program, Reach for the Stars, and Project YES, a weekly team that meets to discuss local, national and international issues. In 2001, PYCE introduced Family Day on the third Monday of September to promote the importance of sharing family meals.