For all of the truly terrible things in the world (disease, terrorism, Nickelback et al), it’s heartening to know that artists in our community are quick to put their time and money where their mouths are. This year's Alternative Press Music Awards is honoring these people with the Artist Philanthropic Award, presented by Sub City. Jake Luhrs of August Burns Red is nominated for his work with HeartSupport.
The central focus of HeartSupport—founded by Luhrs—is the idea of encouragement through community. Music helps listeners through tough times in their lives—whether that’s struggles with drug abuse, sexual assault or broken homes—so the organization centers around an online hub where people can share their stories, find programs to help with their situation, and chat to a HeartSupport HopeCoach online or on the phone.
“There was one girl who was cutting herself and wanted to commit suicide who reached out,” Luhrs remembers. “HeartSupport is for anybody, whatever you believe in, but she happened to be Christian. We’d talked and written back and forth, and we reached out to her youth pastor and told him about the things going on in her life. A year later, we met up with her and she told me the real reason she was cutting herself was because her dad had sex-trafficked her at a very young age. But the youth pastor and his wife ended up adopting her. Now she’s going to college to be a professional counselor and works with a non-profit in her city that helps fight against sex trafficking.”