I'm going to let Julie tell you about herself, her story and what she is doing to help Jimmy and his cause. The following message is from Julie.
Mug Auction to Benefit IHYC and Jimmy Wayne’s Meet Me Halfway Project
My name is Julie Wehner and I am a country music fan with a heart for those whom society has marginalized or failed to serve in a wholistic way. I have been a country fan for several years and last summer took a real interest in one young musician who has a heart more golden than any gold records that any artist or Olympic champion may possess. A little over a year ago his song "Do You Believe Me Now" went to number one on the charts and stayed there for several weeks. That song caught my ear and when I bought his CD there were certain songs that touched me. This piqued my curiosity so I began digging into his history and what I discovered endeared him to me. Jimmy, for all that he has gone through, might possibly not be here right now were it not for the opportunities and people that came into his life.
Continue reading after the jump.
His father left him when he was very small, his mother eeked out a living the best she knew how at the time which did not always mean that Jimmy and his sister were well cared for and oftentimes were in danger. Jimmy’s mom was in jail at one time and he and his sister moved from foster home to foster home and bounced from school to school (he went to 12 schools in two years), never quite able to find any stability. To put it bluntly, Jimmy went through hell and survived to talk about it. Not only does he talk about it, he sings about it. He puts much of his story into his songs. One song that is directly inspired by his past is "Where You’re Going," a song that is on his "Do You Believe Me Now" album. The song has become a favorite at his concerts and gives him a chance to tell his personal story about his experience as a youth in a detention center and going to college to study criminal justice.
In that song, he sings “some’s been lost, some hurt, some of us have been through hell” and hell is where Jimmy was for a time in his life until a couple by the name of Russell and Bea Costner offered him a place to stay and helped him get an education. Of Bea and Russell Jimmy says, they “took a chance on me, and I was certainly no poster child for adoption," Wayne said. "I was this teenager with long hair and tattoos, but they saw past that to the scared kid I was. They met me halfway by offering me a place to live and the opportunity to go back to school. But in turn I had to meet them halfway by helping myself, which meant studying, doing chores and following the rules. They provided me with a way to help myself make a life. They gave me a home, love and respect." Bea and Russell helped Jimmy get his education and go on to get an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice, of which he now jokes that he knew a little about, having been a part of it for so many years as a juvenile who got into a bit of trouble.
It was while working on that education that he encountered the warden that he first met as a resident in the detention center. A class that he was in went on a field trip to that very detention center that Jimmy resided in as a 15-year-old teen. The warden welcomed the class and said “Over here we have all kinds of trash.” This totally incensed Jimmy and he spoke to tell the warden who he was, about his past, and told the warden that he used to be one of those kids, “defiant, scared and confused” but was by no means trash and that the kids that were there were not trash either. That pretty much left the class, who were clueless about his background, and the warden speechless.
This is just one example of many, many things that happened to Jimmy in his life that brought him to where he is today: walking halfway across the U.S. to raise awareness about homeless teenagers and funds to help agencies that serve these youth and/or to inspire his followers to look for ways to help in their own communities. Just as Russell and Bea made him meet them halfway, he is asking us to meet him halfway in raising awareness and funds to help out today’s youth who are homeless, scared and confused.
This is what Jimmy says as quoted on meetmehalfway.jimmywayne.com about his decision to do this walk: “It’s been really hard to sit still and watch everything going on in our country since last year’s troubles on Wall Street began,” Wayne said. “While so many of these people received bailouts, and even bonuses, blue collar and Middle America has suffered. From my past, I know firsthand what the homeless are experiencing: no roof over your head, no real certainty that there will be any food for the day and just hoping the pair of shoes on your feet lasts another winter. No one in this country should be faced with that kind of situation -- especially kids. But unfortunately thousands of people are going though this each and every day.”
Wayne’s decision to commit himself to this project came while standing in his kitchen sipping on a cup of coffee thinking that he really needed to do something big, something that, in my eyes, is getting him back in touch with that part of his life that he was saved from in order to help others today.
This is what led me to IHYC and its programs. I decided a while back to look into what was going on in Iowa and how I could help. I knew about the Iowa Homeless Youth Center and its programs peripherally but not much more than its name and that they sheltered homeless teens. As I looked further, I discovered that this is a great program and exactly the kind that Jimmy would want to support. At first I made a donation but that did not seem very satisfying to me and I wanted to do something more that would highlight Jimmy’s walk across the U.S.
While online making a keepsake mug for him with some of his pictures from the early days of the walk, intending to give him one and have him autograph one for me, I got to thinking that there might be a lot of fans that would like to have one of these mugs. So I ordered more after I got mine and Jimmy’s, took them to a concert, had him sign them, and brought them home. I have three mugs to auction to the highest bidders and all funds will go to IHYC and to Meet Me Halfway, Jimmy Wayne’s organization from which he will use funds to help other organizations that assist homeless youth.
Here is a picture of one of the three mugs.
Bidding will begin on Sunday, April 25and culminate on Sunday, May 15th. One mug will be auctioned per week. Bidders may go to eBay.com and search for “Jimmy Wayne MMH Mugs”. Bids open at 12:01 a.m. April 25th and close on Saturday, May 1st at midnight for the first mug. These times are CDT. The next 2 mugs will be auctioned off the next 2 consecutive weeks, same time frames, concluding on May 15th.
Each mug is going to be auctioned individually in order to get the most funds and to see that everyone has a shot at receiving one of them. Please consider giving generously and follow Jimmy’s journey on Twitter at @jimmywayne or on meetmehalfway.jimmywayne.com. He tweets almost every day as long as he is within range of cell towers.
On behalf of Jimmy Wayne, Iowa Homeless Youth Center and the many, many youth who will be served, thank you for supporting efforts to end homelessness among teenagers and giving them a shot at the life they deserve.
If you'd like to help, please help us spread the word. If you're on Twitter or Facebook, please consider re-tweeting or posting this article. If you own a blog or website, please consider linking to this article and/or re-posting it to your site. Above all, if you can help, please do. It would mean the world to Jimmy, Julie and myself. Thank you for your support!
P Squared, Inc.
Publishers of TodaysCountryMusicVideos.com.
P.S. If you missed this a few days ago, check out this video of Jimmy telling his story during a recent concert. Jimmy's the 'real deal'. A lot of celebrities and superstars talk a big game these days, but very few actually do anything. Jimmy's doing it...
And, if this is the first time you've been exposed to Jimmy, you can check out more of Jimmy's music here. Enjoy!
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