Area resident secures the Sheepdogs for fundraiser

Former MuchMusic executive strikes a chord in support of at-risk youth



Local David Kines has made a career out of booking bands on the cusp of their big break. Kines, a former MuchMusic executive, has also tapped his connections to line up musical talent for an annual backyard fundraiser in support of Serve Canada, a non-profit dedicated to empowering at-risk youth.

Last year, he booked a little-known band from the prairies to perform. But then that little-known band — the Sheepdogs — won a contest to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, as well as some Juno Awards since then.

Needless to say, the band missed the fundraiser. This year, however, the Sheepdogs will be making good on their commitment.

The event, dubbed Servestock, is set for June 13 in the intimate setting of a Forest Hill backyard volunteered by the homeowner.

In addition to a performance by the Sheepdogs, there will be live and silent auctions for items such as a trip to go see The David Letterman Show, the proceeds of which will go toward the cause. Combined with ticket sales, at $250 a pop, the goal is to raise around $100,000.

Kines first heard about Serve Canada when the Barenaked Ladies played a benefit for the organization. Impressed by the non-profit’s work, he readily agreed to lend a hand when a friend approached him about sitting on the board.

“It’s very remarkable to hear the [now] adults talk about how their lives change as a result of the leadership training they get with Serve and the guidance they get with Serve,” Kines says.

Serve Canada’s programs seek to engage youth from inner-city communities with activities, games, volunteer work and workshops designed to impart such skills as leadership and teamwork. This summer it will be running two programs.

Serve Up the Summer is aimed at 13- to 16-year-olds living in the Malvern neighbourhood looking to build job, life and leadership skills. Making It Work is geared toward 17- to 21-year-olds from across the city. Serve marks its success with statistics such as the 98 per cent of participants ages 13 to 16 who enter or return to high school upon completing its programs.

“You hear stories of kids with one parent not at home on a regular basis or they’re having challenges at school or in the community, and they’re just remarkable stories of turnaround and perseverance,” Kines says. Apart from the non-profit’s positive impact, he simply subscribes to the belief that it’s important to contribute in this way.

“I think it’s something we all have to do,” Kines says. “Many of us are in a position to have the time and the connections and the influence to give back to society, and that’s how we all survive, that’s how we all live.”

As for Servestock, the organization’s major fundraiser, the veteran TV executive has found that music has always had a natural association with promoting important causes. Kines’s other credits include Live Aid, Live Earth and the 9/11 Music Without Borders benefit concert.

“Music has always been a force for change and a force for education and a force for good and entertainment and raising awareness and/or funds for events, for decades,” he says.