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Hey! My name is Billy Blanton and this is my first article with A Voice For The Innocent. It’s also the article where I am introducing myself as a brand new board member with AVFTI. I’m excited to be more involved with this organization and to share my story of what led me to this point of being here, with any and everyone reading this.

I had known of the organization due to a music scene related friendship with Jamie Sivrais. I knew what they stood for and I was behind it, but I supported from a distance. I undervalued the impact that just one person can have when they get involved with something as strong as this organization. I didn’t think there was much I could do to be of help but I was always behind the message and what they were trying to accomplish. The difference in my mindset came when the Save Our Scene campaign began happening. I saw that there was a opportunity for AVFTI to be on Warped Tour and I knew that’s where I could help.

Once the application process for that internship began, I decided I needed to be all in with this organization. It was time to stop undervaluing what I was capable of, and finally get out there and help with something I’m passionate about rather than talk about it. I originally didn’t get the internship position for Warped Tour, but I still wanted to be involved. I asked what I could do and before I could even jump to the first event, the opportunity to do the second half of Warped Tour with AVFTI was presented to me. With absolutely no hesitation, I accepted the position.

Billy, Jamie, and Cassie at Warped Tour.
Billy, Jamie, and Cassie at Warped Tour.
That month of my life was when everything changed. Seeing the immediate impact this can have on so many people opened my eyes. From having people open up to us, or simply just thanking us totally changed my perception of this world and what anyone is capable of. Jamie would always ask me “so, are you going to keep being involved with us once we get home?”, and there was never any hesitation to say “absolutely”. I’m always asking what can I do to help because I never feel like I’m doing enough. This organization is saving me from many things and allowing me to have a voice to speak up about something that happened to people I love and care for deeply. The moment I was told about an open board member position, I couldn’t help but jump on it. I saw it was a field I had extensive experience in and I want nothing more than to help with this organization for as long as I possibly can.

I was going to try and keep this short but as I’ve learned, this organization can bring out the best in people and that includes a lot of emotions. I know there’s so much to be done with this and I can’t wait to do everything possible to help. I’m grateful to be a part of this beautiful family and to see the impact we continue to make any and everywhere we go.

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