Triad concert to benefit HandyCapable Network
Disabled individuals will take center stage this week — literally — but the emphasis will be on ability rather than disability.
Justin Hines, a disabled singer/songwriter who has performed at venues throughout the world, will give a benefit concert Wednesday evening at Greensboro’s Temple Emanuel. Proceeds will go to the HandyCapable Network, a Triad nonprofit that helps developmentally disabled individuals find meaningful work.
“This is part of Justin’s ‘Vehicle of Change Tour,’ which he started back in the spring,” says Barbara Davis, HandyCapable’s executive director. “He raised money to do a series of concerts for free for nonprofits like ours.”
Davis points out that Hines has made a big splash in the music world, and it’s a privilege to have him in the Triad.
“He’s played in Dubai, he’s played at the Beijing Olympics, his song ‘Say What You Will’ was number one in South Africa, and now he’s coming right here to Greensboro,” she says. “We’re very fortunate to have him here.”
Hines, who is Canadian, has Larsen syndrome, a congenital joint dislocation condition that will require him to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
“The reality is, I don’t really look at my situation as that big a deal,” Hines says on his website. “We all have things that challenge us, just some people’s are a little more visible in the forefront. Mine is very apparent, whereas others wear it on the inside.”
Hines has been performing professionally since he was 14, after winning a vocal competition to sing the Canadian and U.S. national anthems at a Toronto Raptors basketball game. Since then he has performed across the globe and has recorded several albums. He has also been featured on a PBS special and on a “CBS Sunday Morning” segment.
One of his songs, “Tell Me I’m Wrong,” climbed to No. 21 on Billboard’s adult contemporary chart, and the video has garnered hundreds of thousands of hits online.
HandyCapable, which is based in Greensboro but serves all of the Triad, trains developmentally disabled adults to refurbish donated computers, which are then placed with low-income families and other nonprofits.
“All of our HandyTechs, as we like to call them, are people with developmental disabilities,” Davis explains. “We train them to refurbish used computers that have been donated to us, which gives them a chance to fulfill their potential and give something back to the community.”
For example, Davis tells the story of Carl, a HandyTech who has cerebral palsy but has learned so much that he serves as the nonprofit’s web developer.
“He lies on a mat on the floor and loads software with a head pointer,” she says. “We just try to focus on their abilities and what they would like to do, and then we give them the skill set they need to accomplish that.”
According to Davis, HandyCapable has refurbished and distributed more than 4,300 computers to homes and nonprofits across the Triad, with the goal of every home having a computer.
“We call that program ‘A Mouse in Every House,’” she says, “because that’s what our goal is.”
Wednesday’s concert is an important fundraiser for the nonprofit, Davis says.
“Grant funding is down, individual funding is down and corporate funding is down,” she says, “so something like this is extraordinarily important and critical for a nonprofit as small as ours.”
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Want to go?
Justin Hines will perform at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Temple Emanuel, 1129 Jefferson Road, Greensboro. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. An additional $10 donation will purchase a ticket for a disabled person to attend the concert.
Advance tickets can be ordered online at www.handycapable.org or by calling (336) 209-7360, Ext. 0.
All proceeds will go to the HandyCapable Network, a Triad nonprofit that trains developmentally disabled adults to refurbish donated computers, which are then placed with low-income families and other nonprofits.