Band recruits at-risk youth mentors with music

Tampa, Florida -- The CEO of the Tampa Bay chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters, Stephen Koch, had never heard of the Ethan Parker Band before this week but he might just be the group's newest, biggest fan.

"I am intrigued! I'm very interested in hearing this Ethan Parker music," he said with a chuckle.

The band is set to begin a 60-city tour this summer playing concerts and urging the crowds to join in their mission of finding suitable mentors for kids.

PHOTOS:Florida band recruits at-risk youth mentors with music

"What's the purpose of life? Why are we here?" asked band leader Ethan Parker. "For us, success has really become who can we impact along the way and for us that's become orphans and at-risk youth."

Parker's band played a concert Wednesday night at Harborside Church in Safety Harbor. The message was simple: make a difference where you live.

"You don't have to go to a third-world county to make a difference," said Parker. "It's here in your backyard."

"We may have 1,000 people (in the crowd) but one person comes up and says tonight, I realized what my mission is on this earth and for us that's a win," said band member Pierre Aristil.

It's music to Koch's ears. He began with Big Brothers Big Sisters in 1994 and is always looking for volunteers. In 2014, the Bay Area paired mentors with over 3,100 kids across seven counties.

Now, because of the Ethan Parker Band's music, he hopes that number will go up even more.

"He's got it," said Koch. "He got the message. He figured it out and it's by people like Ethan and thousands like him across the country, they're going to allow us to grow and continue to do what we do."


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