Musician to play benefit for family-help groups

Posted: November 11, 2017 at 1:53 a.m.

Album cover for Jason Truby's "All Is Calm"

Little Rock musician and songwriter Jason Truby has written the title track to the 1999 movie The Matrix Reloaded soundtrack and is a former guitarist for the rock group P.O.D., but there is one thing he never wants to see on the list of things he has done.

"Boring is something I don't ever want to achieve," said Truby, whose latest album, a collection of Christmas classics titled All Is Calm, was released Tuesday.

The album, which Truby considers a follow-up to his 2016 album Hymns: Guitar Arrangements for Peace and Healing, is "a different kind of calm" -- one that he'll share with an audience when he performs at 6 p.m. Dec. 10 at Little Rock's Parkway Place Baptist Church.

All offerings collected at the church that evening will benefit The C.A.L.L. (Children of Arkansas Loved for a Lifetime), a faith-based organization that helps place children in foster and adoptive families; and Pathway of Hope, a Salvation Army initiative that helps families to become stable, function independently and break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

Truby and his wife have four children, all of whom he said the Lord brought to them through adoption. He has performed at a number of events benefiting organizations that support foster care and adoption, a cause he said is "near and dear" to his heart.

It's a cause that's also near and dear to Mary Carol Pederson, co-founder of The C.A.L.L. A former foster parent herself, Pederson said The C.A.L.L. operates in 44 counties and has helped place thousands of Arkansas children in adoptive and foster homes since its formation in 2006.

Pederson, who is also the organization's coordinator for Pulaski County, said in that county there is a need for 200 foster families and that there are 64 children for whom the rights-of-both parents have been terminated, leaving them without a family. Most of the time the children without parents are older children -- school-aged children, teenagers, sibling groups and special-needs children -- who are less likely to be adopted.

It would be ideal, Pederson said, "if every foster family had three [support] families" to provide backup and respite care.

For Rhonda Tollett, case manager for Pathway of Hope, The C.A.L.L. is one of multiple organizations that creates a web of support and resource sharing that is critical to the success of the organizations and the families they support.

"If a resource comes to me and I cannot use it, I'm going to send it to ... The C.A.L.L. and do what I can, because if we can stop the cycle in foster care and build a strong foundation with [families], then it's less likely I'm going to get a family that is going to be on the street and lose everything," she said.

The Central Arkansas Area Command in Little Rock was the first to establish the nationwide Salvation Army initiative in Arkansas, according to Tollett. Pathway of Hope currently houses 10 families under the central Arkansas territory, nine of which are led by single mothers -- a ratio that Tollett said was not surprising.

"These are women who had goals in their life, and life happened and [life] spiraled out of their control," said Tollett, who said all of the women currently in Pathway of Hope were at one time working at full-time jobs and aspiring to get college degrees.

The one factor that holds across families that enter Pathway of Hope, Tollett said, is a lack of decision-making skills, most often in budgeting and in relationships. Through mentorship and the acquiring of skills needed to manage life and a family, one of the nine single mothers is now attending college and four others have earned some amount of college credits.

"The [organization] is willing to take a bold step in changing one family at a time," Tollett said.

"There's not a family that hasn't gone through struggles before. It's how [families fall like] dominoes that can be different for some than for others."

While the performance will be Truby's third that benefits The C.A.L.L., Tollett found out only last week that Pathway of Hope also would benefit from the evening's offerings, which she said left her feeling honored.

The theme of the evening will be unity -- among the organizations, the church and its parishioners, and the concert itself, Truby said. He said he doesn't consider the performance to be one-sided but to be a "dance" between the music performed, which will include guitar numbers aside from All Is Calm, and how each audience member perceives it.

It's a sentiment echoed by Parkway Place's discipleship pastor, Greg Kelley, who said Truby is "a great communicator with the audience."

"We have done these shows in the past and they've always been very well received," Kelley said. " ... they have always produced a good benefit."

Most importantly, Truby said, "It's a group of people ... that [are] living their actions out of gratitude.

"If everybody kind of finds their place [in the world], and you do come together in unity and you're united in faith -- not doctrine -- then you can get things accomplished," Truby said. "We can have great music ... and there's a release through that [medium], and that helps young people and families out. ... That just seems like a win to me."

Truby's latest album is available on iTunes and Amazon.com; All Is Calm can be bought on CD by visiting jasontruby.com or calling (501) 650-4677.

Jason Truby will perform tracks from his latest album, All Is Calm, and other works at 6 p.m. on Dec. 10 at Little Rock’s Parkway Place Baptist Church...

Religion on 11/11/2017