AEG Presents Rocky Mountains, led by co-president and senior talent buyer Don Strasburg, is stepping up in their region to show support for educators with the assets they have, concert tickets.
Discussion around teachers has been terse since the tragic Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In the aftermath of a 19 year-old gunman killing 17 and injuring over a dozen more at the school, a nation-wide debate around teachers has erupted. Some elected officials, including President Trump, have called for arming teachers while many others have stressed the extreme consequences of bringing more weapons onto campuses.
In Colorado where AEG Presents Rocky Mountains is based, Strasburg took to Facebook with a decidedly different approach. On Sunday, Strasburg wrote a post that read “Hey any school teacher friends of mine here? I’d like to stoke some of you with some comp tickets. You sure deserve a lot of love.”
“Sunday night I just had an epiphany,” Strasburg told Amplify. “I thought ‘Why don’t we just let the teachers know that we love them and considering what a potentially tough situation it is right now for them considering our genius president thinks they should be carrying guns to school, which I’m certain doesn’t make them feel very happy. What can we do to show them love?'”
Since Sunday, Strasburg’s post has been flooded with requests and deep appreciation from teachers. Over the course of the past few days, Strasburg said he has received hundreds of requests and just as many thank yous from educators. Though Strasburg admits he hasn’t had time to count the actual numbers, the team at AEG Presents Rocky Mountains has already started fulfilling requests.
One educator, Lisa Amen Hleovas wrote “This is a beautiful offer! My friend and I teach at a Title I school in downtown Colorado Springs. We work with at-risk kids everyday and this year has been especially challenging! Today we had a shelter in place drill and my students and I used the time to give our thoughts to the 17 students who died in Florida.”
“All the things that have been going on with schools and teachers had been gnawing on me, brought to a head with the tragedy in Parkland. Myself and my team exist in an interesting space where we do interact with the community at large and often we are engaged in benefits and activities to help in times of need,” Strasburg said.
Though the idea was brought to life by Strasburg’s Facebook declaration on Sunday evening, the execution has been a team effort from the entire AEG Presents Rocky Mountain staff.
“I’m able to do it, only because of the incredible organization I’m a part of and we’re doing it together,” Strasburg said. “We have a huge team of people who crush it day in and day out to put on all these incredible events. This is about every single person at AEG Presents Rocky Mountains who all want to give something back to the educators in our community.”
“Special thanks to all the ticketing folks who have managed the request, Erika, Jen, Amanda and Allison and of course my right hand Caitlin. We are gonna fulfill a bunch more request tonight,” Strasburg wrote on Facebook Tuesday night as a follow up. “It’s been incredibly special to hear from all types of educators and we hope the gift of music will brighten their day and put an extra bump in their step. At the next show look around you i bet someone close is a teacher. Buy them a drink they deserve it. Music heals , live music brings us all together. We appreciate the honor to help be a part.”
Starsburg told Amplify “I was prompted because I felt like teachers are the most underpaid, often under-appreciated people who are so critical to what is truly important to us, which is our children. The least we can do is reach out and show them we love them and care. This was a little token, a way we could do that.”
While Strasburg and his team have the ability to help in their community, they hope their actions will prompt others, in the music industry and otherwise, to do more to show their appreciation for educators.
“The response has been beyond heartwarming and that’s really been a joy. And I would encourage anyone else in the country to do similar things because we’re all part of a community and anything we can do to help is always awesome,” Strasburg said.