Kayla Jo Cross, a 2009 Petoskey High School graduate, will perform — among other local talents — during a benefit concert on Saturday, Dec. 8, an effort to raise funds for her trip with the Global Service Corps, an international service learning organization.
Cross intends to embark on a journey in the spring, taking part in a Buddhist immersion program in Cambodia and a trip to teach basic music concepts to orphans in Thailand. Her humanitarian spirit and her interest in personal growth led her to this unique opportunity that will take her across the globe.
Sensitive to others' struggles, Cross remained busy searching for ways to help — both near and far.
She joked in a recent interview that her dream job would be to volunteer full time, if it were possible.
For now though, Cross cleans houses and plays gigs on the weekends with her band.
A friend referred Cross to the Global Service Corps after spending many months researching mission trips and other volunteer opportunities. After this excursion, Cross said she may apply for another service organization such as AmeriCorps or Peace Corps.
"I know I can't change the world but I would be happy to help just a few people," Cross said.
Once in Southeast Asia, Cross will live with monks and teach orphans as part of the integrated program.
"I am excited to learn a new culture. I will learn two different languages and ways of living. I hope to grow spiritually and inspire children to be creative with music," she said.
In order to be eligible for a plane ticket in April, Cross must raise around $6,000.
Cross also plans to raise enough during the benefit to donate ukuleles for use during her music instruction in the orphanages.
"I want to share my love of music with the kids. I just can't imagine what my life would be like without music," Cross said.
Though she admits that the trip itself is expensive, and reaching her financial goal seems daunting, she is optimistic that months of planning and preparation will pay off. Cross will sing during a solo performance at the benefit concert. Other local "Americana" bands will play including: MEGAskyfish, Blue Dirt, Ribo & The Flavinauts and The Vermeers.
"This is a night out for people to bring friends and listen to great bands," Cross said.
Gift baskets will be raffled off at the benefit concert and food will be provided. The concert begins at 5:30 p.m. today, Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Petoskey Eagles Club, 313 Water St.
The event is free and open to the public, though donations will be accepted to benefit Cross' mission to Asia.
Those who are unable to attend the concert can make donations to the Cross family.
Call (231) 758-2772 or send email to email@example.com for more information.