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Bluesfest to raise money for Plymouth Crossroads

The Plymouth Crossroads transitional house located in Lancaster

BY: Mia Summerson | September 05, 2013

The original blues musicians may have been people in similar circumstances to the youths who live at the Plymouth Crossroads house in Lancaster, but on Sept. 14 local blues musicians will come together to help give those young men a chance to get on their feet.

Since opening it’s doors in January 2011, the Plymouth Crossroads house has been home to 64 different boys ages 16 to 20. It is a home for boys who have no where else to go, either due to the loss of parents or grandparents, abuse or an otherwise lack of a stable living environment.

“(The event) is called Crossroads Bluesfest, said Jennifer Thorpe, Crossroads Program Director. “It’s completely voluntary they don’t have to stay here. Some are still in high school and can’t have a mortgage or rent payment and still finish school.

“They can stay up to 18 months or until they turn 21 so they have time to get on their feet. Some stay to finish up high school or start college, some stay while they prepare to join the military and some stay to save for an apartment.”

Eight boys can be live in this especially homey environment at one time. They are provided with bedrooms, home cooked meals, recreational activities and a carpool to get them to and from their appointments. Thorpe also said they have a pet bunny and report cards on the refrigerator.

“We know we’re running a tight program and we’ve seen the successes,” said Thorpe. “This event will hopefully help two-fold, both as a fund raiser and a friend raiser. We need to raise awareness, this is happening to a lot of boys.”

The Crossroads Bluesfest will be hosted by 97 Rock icon Anita West and will feature several musical artists from the area including Erin Welsh, Hoagy and the Blues Bombers, Dive House Union, the Jony James Band and more.

Each band will play for about 45 minutes to an hour according to Thorpe. There will also be food and drinks as well as raffle items.

“We’re really hoping that by bringing several bands we’re opening up to people who didn’t know much about our cause,” she said. “ This is something that the general public will attend and then the learning will take place once they get there.”

While this is the first Crossroads Bluesfest the goal is for it not to be the last. Thorpe says they would like to make this an annual event. They are asking for donations of personal items for the boys to use at the house.

Thorpe added that the boys at the house know the importance of community service. They know that they rely on their neighbors and locals to provide them with food clothing and other necessities. They will be volunteering at Bluesfest and they make themselves available to work with other groups when they don’t have to be at work or school.

“We’ve had some great successes,” Thorpe said. “We’ve had four move out and get their own apartments in the last month. We try to help them out when they leave, we give them sheets, dishes towels, garbage cans, you know those little things.

“They come back for the holidays sometimes, and some pop in just for minute on their way home from work to raid the fridge and then they take off. To me that’s what it’s all about. We bring ongoing support so they have every reason to succeed. Everyone needs someone who believes in them, and now they have those roots, that home base.”

The Crossroads Bluesfest will be held from 3 to 9 p.m. on Sept. 14 at the Chicken Coop Grove in West Seneca. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door, prices include some raffle tickets and $5 toward food.

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