On May 7, two local nonprofits will come together for an evening of jazz hosted by the Atascadero Community Band. Jazz Horns-A Plenty will take over the Atascadero Bible Church from 3 to 5 p.m. and will be accepting donations to benefit the event’s chosen nonprofit, Project Lifesaver San Luis Obispo.
The volunteer-based band plays a variety of concerts throughout the year, including four to five indoor concerts during the school year, a joint concert with Atascadero Middle School, and the Tuesdays in the Park series during the summer.
“There’s a real community spirit to it,” said band President M.J. Basti. “The nature of community bands goes way back. If you look at the history of Atascadero, there was actually a community band 100 years ago.”
The band enjoys a diverse range of members from junior high students to senior citizens. “As long as you have a horn and can read music, you’re welcome to join,” Basti said.
- PHOTO COURTESY OF ATASCADERO COMMUNITY BAND
- JAMMIN’ FOR A CAUSE : Members of the Atascadero Community Band perform at a benefit barbecue at Atascadero Lake. On May 7, the band will perform a benefit concert in support of Project Lifesaver.
Each indoor concert sponsors a different nonprofit in the county. The spring benefit concert will have free refreshments, admission, and parking, but donations are welcome to support Project Lifesaver.
The nonprofit is an international tracking program that provides rapid response for adults and children who wander due to Alzheimer’s, autism, Down syndrome, dementia, and other related disorders.
The program utilizes radio frequency wristbands that can be worn on the patient’s wrist or ankle to help pinpoint their location if they are reported missing.
When Basti reached out to the organization, she was thrilled at a chance for the nonprofit to gain some visibility.
“I got online and looked at all the nonprofits available in the county. Project Lifesaver came up, and I thought that since a lot of our audience is older, maybe this is something that could benefit them,” Basti said. “We invite somebody from their group to do a short presentation during intermission at our concerts. It’s really a way of helping the community learn what’s available for their own benefit.”
The San Luis Obispo chapter works in partnership with the county’s Lions Clubs, Sheriff’s Office, and Senior Volunteer Services to provide trained, volunteer-based search and rescue teams. The Central Coast chapter is the largest one in the state, which Marie Brinkmeyer, the executive director at Senior Volunteer Services, attributes to the volunteers’ dedication to the program.
“People who have cognitive disabilities tend to not realize they’re lost and tend to hide,” Brinkmeyer said. “Once the sheriff’s department is notified that your loved one has wandered, and you can tell them the last place they were seen, they have a mobile unit that is put into play. That way, that person can be located in minutes instead of hours—or perhaps, never.”
Brinkmeyer said that the organization sees between 60 and 70 clients annually, many of whom live in Atascadero.
When Project Lifesaver started in 2004, it was estimated that about 4,000 people in the county could use the program, according to Brinkmeyer. The latest figure she has heard is 10,000.
“Even though it’s been in existence for 13 years almost, it’s still a well-kept secret,” Brinkmeyer said. “I want people to know about it, I want people to contact us, I’ll be happy to explain the program. It’s just getting the word out and having people realize that this service is available.”
Contact Project Lifesaver in SLO County by calling 544-8740.
• On May 12, the city of Pismo Beach Conference and Visitors Bureau will be hosting its first ever Movie in the Park event. There will be tricycle races, games, wine, and food trucks in Dinosaur Caves Park starting at 6 p.m., and a screening of Disney’s Moana starts at 8 p.m. Ten percent of vendor sales, 50 percent of wine sales, and 100 percent of raffle, coffee, hot chocolate, and popcorn sales will go to the local American Heart Association chapter. The other 50 percent of wine sales will go toward the Five Cities Rotary Club Pinot for Polio fundraiser. For more info, call the visitors bureau at 773-7034 or visit classiccalifornia.com.
New Times intern Erica Hudson wrote this week’s Strokes & Plugs. Send tidbits and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.