STRIVING FOR SERVICE: For the past three summers, Concord native Tyler Andrews
was a group leader of STRIVE Trips, which coordinates international service trips for US high school student athletes in Peru and
Kenya. Recently, he began overseeing the program as director and co-owner of the organization.
Andrews, a senior studying mechanical engineering and astrophysics at Tufts University, said students assist with teaching and building projects at rural schools with structured workouts twice a day. They stay at high altitude training centers at both locations, with an optional one-week Spanish language immersion program offered for the first time this year in Peru.
According to Andrews, many participants do optional, private fund-raising to contribute to the needs of the communities in which they serve. Last summer, for example, an 18-student group transformed an abandoned school room into a resource library and reading room in Peru.
Andrews, a member of the cross-country and track teams at Tufts, said he and STRIVE co-owners Nic Windschill of Minnesota and Robert Martin of New York City hope to expand the program to additional times of year and locations, and to include college students and adults.
“The work we do on the ground is great, but the bigger goal is getting kids to fall in love with places they might not otherwise see or think about. That’s what happened to me,” said Andrews, who traveled and worked in Ecuador during a gap year between high school and college.
“We work with kids for a short amount of time,” he added, “but in that time, I want to inspire them to come back to these beautiful countries with amazing people and cultures and continue to make a difference.”
For more information, visit www.strivetrips.org.
HONORING MLK: Boston resident Jean McGuire, executive director of the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity Inc., also known as METCO, since 1973, will be the keynote speaker at Belmont’s second annual Martin Luther King Jr. community breakfast. The event will take place on Monday from 8:45 to 11 a.m., in the cafeteria at Belmont High School, 221 Concord Ave.
In addition, Belmont alumni will share reflections on their METCO experience. Music will be provided by gospel singers and Boston residents Nichelle Mungo and Darlene Wynn, the mother of a former Belmont METCO student.
Supervised activities will be available for ages 6 to 11, and child care will be provided for children 5 and under. The building is accessible, and sign language interpreters will be on hand.
Admission is $5 per person or $10 per family, with proceeds benefiting the METCO Support Fund which enables METCO students to participate in after-school activities and events. Pre-registration is requested at 617-489-0478 or belmontagainstracism.org.
MUSIC FOR AN ICON: The 2013 documentary “Live Forever: The Ray Bradbury Odyssey” has a local connection with music by Steve Thomas of Concord.
Thomas collaborated on the soundtrack with former Massachusetts resident Shawn Clement, who now lives in Hollywood, for the feature-length film which chronicles the life of the fantasy, science fiction, horror, and mystery writer best known for his novel “Fahrenheit 451.”
Narrated by “Criminal Minds” star Joe Mantegna, the film also features Malcolm McDowell, Edward James Olmos, Dennis Franz, and Hugh Hefner.
Thomas, who runs the Atwood Media marketing consultancy and music production company, describes the music as a combination of Clement’s “deep, other-worldly” cinematic orchestral music with his own “eclectic, genre-mashing aesthetic,” resulting in the unique musical context for the sci-fi icon.
In fact, Thomas has contributed since 2008 to the Clemistry Music production library that has supplied music for films, television shows, and video games for nearly 20 years.
“My music has been on TV before,” said Thomas, who still has the copy of “Fahrenheit 451” that he read in school, “but Ray Bradbury is a whole different level.”
A prerelease screening of “Live Forever: The Ray Bradbury Odyssey” took place on Nov. 11, 2012, in Ventura, Calif. According to Thomas, the film is being submitted to film festivals while broader distribution is negotiated.
CELEBRATING AFRICAN MUSIC AND DANCE: Arlington resident Joe Galeota (inset), an associate professor of percussion at Berklee College of Music, is producing “Homeland Security: Celebrating Contemporary and Traditional African Music and Dance” on Jan. 28 at 8:15 p.m. at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave. in Boston.
The performance will feature students on scholarship from Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, and South Africa, as well as students from the United States. It is dedicated to Berklee president Roger Brown and his wife, Linda Mason, Belmont residents who established the Africa Scholars Program in 2008 to cover four years of full tuition plus room and board.
Galeota leads Berklee’s 16-member West African Drum and Dance Ensemble, which will perform traditional drum and dance pieces from Ghana and Togo. The concert will include original songs written by students from Kenya and Mozambique about their homelands and personal journeys, along with spoken word pieces and traditional and contemporary music.
Galeota, one of the advisers for the African student club, said he is moved by the camaraderie among its members.
“They are all so talented, but still help one another and maintain the kind of closeness that you find in the African communities,” he said. “My vision for the concert was to share all of their talent in one night and on one stage together.”
Tickets cost $8 in advance or $12 on the day of the show. For more information, call 617-747-2261 or visit berkleebpc.com.
WHO’S WHAT WHERE: Stephanie Burns of Wellesley (inset) has joined Benoit Mizner Simon & Co. as a broker associate at the real estate company with offices in Wellesley and Weston. Burns is an award-winning real estate broker who previously worked as a real estate and contract attorney.
At Needham Bank, Eric Morse of Dover is the new first vice president of marketing and retail sales. Rebecca O’Brien of Boylston has been named assistant branch manager at the Needham location of the bank, which also has branches in Wellesley, Westwood, Medfield, and Dedham.