Tom Kops

Hello Everyone, let me give a little bit  of background on myself. I am what you would call your average suburban/rural kid from a divorced home.

Although I had two loving parents and I was aware of their divorce before they were (so to me it was no big deal), it put the family at a financial disadvantage. We were by no means poor, but kids that age can tend to be a little vicious. I have always been a “little off” in my life, and was what you would call an outcast. So to try and fit in by rebelling, I would often break and vandalize things. When that didn’t work I turned to stealing things. I had been arrested a few times and was going down a not awesome path as they would say. Then when I was about fifteen I discovered a band called Suicidal Tendencies, which lead me down a rabbit hole of music that would forever change my life (I am actually listening to them as I type this).

“…this music helped me from either going to jail or to an early grave. Instead of taking out my frustrations on the world (either thru vandalism, theft, or violence), I was able to vent that anger out at concerts and using the music to better inspire myself to do better things.”

The music taught me even if I was “different” then the other kids, that was okay and to embrace it. Although it was a tough struggle that took many years, this music helped me from either going to jail or to an early grave. Instead of taking out my frustrations on the world (either thru vandalism, theft, or violence), I was able to vent that anger out at concerts and using the music to better inspire myself to do better things. In the music I found people like myself, and have become a more confident person and productive member of society. I owe all this to the music that I have discovered, and can truly say it has saved my life. Music is my friend when I had none, and has been my inspiration when I needed it. I am who I am because of music. I can truly, with every ounce of my soul, honestly say MUSIC SAVED MY LIFE. Also not just me, like I stated earlier with the music I found a community and friendships I wouldn’t have found otherwise. Almost all of these people were misfits and outcasts such as myself, and many today are very successful and productive people. They lived life on their own terms, and when the world said they would be nothing they prevailed on there own terms. These are my reasons whenever I get a chance to help programs such as this, I jump at it.