By Vanessa Harris
Since the children are the future, the future is shining a little brighter in Allahabad, India, thanks to musician Trevor Hall and camp. Although responsible for many hit songs like “Brand New Day” from his latest album “Everything Everytime Everywhere” and for opening the hearts of all who are able to catch one of his live shows, Hall’s greatest deed might just lie in the fortune of a small box.
Nestled in the back of the room in each of his concert venues is a small donation box. Here concert-goers are able to donate to an ashram in which Hall has personally invested his heart and humanitarian efforts. For a musician constantly performing from Mammoth to Maine and everywhere in between, it’s easy to see how pocket change from his many supporters grows. In India, the destination for the funds, it adds up to what seems like a priceless gift to the recipients.
Near the Triveni Sangam, where the holy Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati rivers meet, lies the Yoga-Vedanta Kutir, as founded by HH Swami Vishnudevananda Saraswati. Trevor Hall who is a devotee of Kali Mandir in Laguna Beach, is closely associated with the Yoga-Vedanta Kutir, along with fellow Kali Mandir devotees. Within the walls of this ashram in Allahabad live many impoverished boys, whose odds have been stacked against them, with little resources or money. From families who are too poor to provide for them, the boys are graciously taken in by the ashram and supplied with food, shelter and traditional Vedic education. During the four years that Hall has been visiting the ashram, he, his friends, and his fans have been responsible for raising over $15,000 to support the accommodations, food, education, and clothing of these boys.
Hall explains, “Because we’ve had so many generous donations, a couple years ago we were able to purchase a plot of land and start building the girls’ ashram across the river.” Hall adds, “The funds are raised by word of mouth and if people want to make a donation, we get in touch with them. It’s an organic and grassroots kind of thing.”
Even with the purest of intentions, there are setbacks, as Hall experienced this past year. Right before his December, 2011, trip to India, his tour van was broken into, and all the donation money collected on the 2011 tour was stolen. But as the law of nature works itself out, Hall admits, “In a strange way it was God’s blessings because when I tweeted about it and put it up on Facebook, so many people came forward with donations. We ended up raising four or five times as much as we originally had.”
With the maintenance and basic needs of the boys’ ashram being met, the next step is on the expansion and building of the girls’ ashram. “There’s lots of construction that needs to happen in order for the girls’ ashram to be completed. We’re trying to make sure they have a comfortable place to live. India is pretty cheap but construction is quite expensive,” Hall continues. “We’ve been able to start the girls’ ashram, it’s not completely finished. There are six or seven girls living there now, but we just need to complete the roof. Once that’s finished, we’ll have a nice place for them to be.”
While physically back in the States, Trevor still maintains a relationship with the children of Yoga-Vedanta Kutir. “I call them here and there and we stay in touch with our Guruji to see what’s needed and how we can help. Sometimes if he’s sitting around the kitchen he’ll pass the phone to them.” Laughingly, he admits, “We’ll speak in broken Hindi.”
Although money can be seen as the root of all problems in this age of quarrel, Hall’s work supporting the children of Yoga-Vedanta Kutir proves funds can be helpful when handled with consideration. While the giving of money is charity, the giving of your heart, well, that’s love.
How to donate:
Find the “Ashram” tab on Trevor’s personal blog, Rampriyadas.blogspot.com to learn more about the children of the Yoga-Vedanta Kutir Ashram and how you can give.
To learn more about Trevor and his music, visit: Trevorhallmusic.com.