Caring for Cambodia hosts band jam

Junior Isaac Rodriguez, lead singer and guitar player for Fun Monkey, continues to play guitar as he holds it behind his head.

The Caring for Cambodia Band Jam on Sunday, Feb. 18, raised money for Cambodia by having LHS student bands perform in the cafeteria.

Entry tickets were $10 and included a free slice of pizza, and t-shirts with the band members’ names on the back were sold for $12 each. Raffle tickets were sold for $1, and a silent auction was set up outside the cafeteria. According to Mrs. Owens, the faculty sponsor of Caring for Cambodia, “The Band Jam [was a] very positive, energetic environment that [celebrated] the talent of our students as well as promoted the organization’s mission.”

According to Mrs. Owens, the Band Jam, held in the school’s cafeteria, was packed with 150 people by 7:15 p.m., many of whom were there to watch their friends perform; students were gathered at the edge of the stage cheering. Senior club member Hayden Marth, who joined as a junior, expressed, “[The bands] kind of came to us because last year it was so successful.”

There were eight bands that performed: Aurophile, Moonwaves, PT Cruiser, Headlights, Poyo, Lville Jazz, Brooke & Natalie/Maddy & Ella, and lastly, Fun Monkey. Ms. Kelly Angelos, a counselor in the A-F LST, made an announcement after Aurophile’s performance about the purpose of the Band Jam and how the Caring for Cambodia coalition was created. She explained that the Band Jam and Caring for Cambodia revolve around the idea that one person or one action can make a difference.

Mrs. Owens believes the Band Jam is an effective fundraiser because it encourages student bands from LHS, whose members’ friends can come and watch them. Last year, Caring for Cambodia asked for bands over the announcements and had five bands at its inaugural Band Jam; this year, she said, “[The Band Jam] is much bigger than last year; [it‘s] awesome.”

Mrs. Owens began sponsoring Caring for Cambodia after a student asked her to. “I didn’t know anything about the history of Cambodia. I didn’t know anything about the organization, [but] I just really respected and admired this student for wanting to [make a difference],” she said.

Now, LHS is one of 21 high schools across the United States that sponsors the worldwide organization Caring for Cambodia and is one of 4,000 donors. The larger organization takes the funds raised by the schools and sends them to Cambodia, and it then decides where and how the money is distributed. The funds generally go to water treatment facilities, teacher education and paying for desks and tables in schools.

“Some of our fundraising efforts from last year from the Band Jam are paying for an outreach program to pay teachers that can help third graders who had to drop out of school because their parents couldn’t afford them to go to school,” stated Mrs. Owens.

Mrs. Owens described sponsoring Caring for Cambodia as a rewarding experience: “Working with the children [in Cambodia] and seeing how wonderful and peaceful and happy the Cambodians are with their lives – and they have nothing – it just has been life-changing and really inspiring.”

Marth, an organizer of the Band Jam, agreed: “I went on the trip last summer and I fell in love with it.”