Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Jon Bon Jovi Visits CityWalk!

Photo by Steve Lee

Jon Bon Jovi closed out a brief visit to Dallas, which included two sold out concert performances, with a visit to CityWalk@Akard, yesterday, April 12, 2010. His entourage wasn’t what you might expect of a rock and roll star. Instead he had with him Mimi Box, the head of his foundation, the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation (http://www.jonbonjovisoulfoundation.org/), and Sister Mary Scullion and Joan Dawson McConnon, co-founders of Project H.O.M.E. in Philadelphia (http://www.projecthome.org/about/co-founders.php).

As part of his current concert tour, Mr. Bon Jovi is visiting innovative programs to help the homeless—and CityWalk made his list.

The Dallas Morning News sent a reporter and WFAA had both a reporter and videographer present, but this wasn’t a publicity event (it happened after his concerts, which were sold out anyway) but a working meeting. All over the country now organizations, like Central Dallas CDC and Central Dallas Ministries, are working hard to eliminate homelessness. We are beginning to find out what works and it’s important that we have the opportunity to exchange ideas.

Jon Bon Jovi was engaged in the conversation and clearly has a thorough understanding of the reality of homelessness and the solutions we are all beginning to find. He spent two hours talking with us, with some of the residents of CityWalk and touring the building. The discussion included detailed financial analysis, comparisons of various existing rent subsidies, the services we provide and the explanation of design choices. Jon and the people he brought with him know what they are doing, are doing great work in Philadelphia, and it was a pleasure to have a chance to compare notes.

His foundation concentrates on working in the areas of poverty and homelessness, so I shouldn’t be surprised that Jon Bon Jovi takes its work seriously and there have been enough examples of artists engaged in doing good work that I guess none of us should be surprised anymore. I think part of the change we are seeing has to do with people maturing. In your twenties being a rock and roll star may be enough, but after two decades in the business Jon Bon Jovi clearly wants to do more for the community.

Jon Bon Jovi rocking the American Airlines Center on Sunday, then working with homeless issues on Monday makes me think maybe rock and roll will save our souls after all.

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