Wednesday, December 20, 2023

The Soul of Santa: Doing Good This Christmas Season

What could be better than a new album of amazing Christmas music?  Easy! When purchasing that album supports a charitable organization with abundant heart and overflowing soul, in their mission to ensure that everyone has a space in this world, regardless of disability.

The Soul of Santa "Do Good" Foundation is a Kansas City-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization striving to connect individuals with disabilities in our community to the resources they need to live a full, productive life.  

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The Soul of Santa describes their mission as "Our mission is to connect high-functioning individuals with disabilities from low-to-moderate income households to resources. Through personalized holistic workforce development plans, fundraising, community awareness and education, we will help empower them to experience the fullness of life."  The story of the foundation, all the good they do in the Kansas City community, and how to support them is on their website.

This has been a busy holiday season for The Soul of Santa.  They hosted a Christmas Tree Lighting at the historic 18th & Vine jazz district in Kansas City.  They produced a "Very Jazzy" Holiday Benefit Concert, featuring the incredible Lonnie McFadden, a true gentlemen and a gem of the Kansas City  music scene.  

Best of all, the organization pulled together some of the finest musicians around to produce "The Soul of Santa" Christmas album, 13 tracks of soul-stirring holiday tunes (available to purchase on Amazon and stream from the usual streaming sites).  Buying the album directly supports The Soul of Santa and their mission.  The album features "The Soul of Santa" by AriaCamille, "A Big Dawg Christmas" by Roblo Dastar, "Christmas Magic" by The Royal Chief, "Slidin on Christmas" by Xta-C, and many more!

At the Ali Center in Louisville, KY, one can purchase items in support of the center and their mission that state "Be Great - Do Great Things".  What The Soul of Santa does in our community is indeed Great.  Please consider supporting The Soul of Santa by purchasing the album or making a donation to them through their website.  Or volunteer!  There are many ways each of us can support their wonderful work.

Soul of Santa Executive Director Dennis Powell took some time out of his very busy Christmas season to answer a few questions about The Soul of Santa (the organization and the album).  Thank you Dennis!


Q&A with Dennis Powell, Executive Director, The Soul of Santa "Do Good" Foundation

Q: “The Soul of Santa” is a wonderful new album for this holiday season. How did the idea of producing a Christmas album to support the mission of The Soul of Santa “Do Good” Foundation come about?

A: Our founder, Tucker Lott, has written poetry for many years and he had the vision to create original music for Aria to sing with her angelic voice. We were able to connect with Grammy nominated super producer Jo Blaq who took this project to another level. After Aria passed it became even more important to give her music a grand release as a way to honor her. We knew that her voice would touch people once they heard it and it would also be a unique way for people to support our foundation. In talking with the team Shawn Edwards had the idea to create a compilation album in the vein of the “A Very Special Christmas” album series and we decided to expand the project to 12 songs as a play on the “12 Days of Christmas.”

Q: Can you tell us a little about the artists that appear on the album, and their connection to The Soul of Santa?

A: We cannot thank Jo Blaq, Roblo Dastar, The Royal Chief, Paula Saunders, Andrea Tribitt, XTA-C and Doris Donley enough for lending their talents to this project. Not only are these incredible artists but they are all from right here in Kansas City! They all believed in the mission of our foundation and nearly all of the songs were created just for our album. Jo Blaq has become family and is a staunch supporter ambassador for our foundation. We are eternally grateful for their support and ask that you give them a follow!

Q: How has the Kansas City community responded to the efforts of The Soul of Santa organization over the past few years, and are you seeing some excitement this year about the Christmas album?

A: The awareness of our organization is growing which has led to increased support. Many people have no idea how much work we are doing to truly embody our mission to “Do Good 365!” Our Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies centered on disability awareness were on a much grander scale in terms of production and sponsorship support and we saw increased participation as a result. We expect that the attendance at our fundraiser concert will grow as we continue to connect with the community. This has by far been our best year in terms of impact and it is only going to get better from here!

Q: There is a special story about one of the artists on the album, AriaCamille. Can you share her story and the connection to the album?

A: Aria was one of Tucker’s daughters and she is the inspiration for our foundation’s mission. Aria lived with epilepsy however she did not let that, or anything else, dampen her spirit. She was unable to complete chiropractic school due to epilepsy so she transitioned to becoming a school teacher for students with special needs. Unfortunately that career did not compensate her at the level she deserved and she needed some additional resources to experience the fullness of life. When we decided that we needed to narrow the focus of our foundation to a primary community of interest Aria championed helping people like her and thus our mission statement was formed. This album is a display not only of her tremendous talent but also her perseverance. We are determined to make sure the world knows about the special gift that was AriaCamille!

Q: Last question – what is your Christmas wish for the good people that The Soul of Santa “Do Good” Foundation serves?

A: Our vision is to create a world where no one ever feels forgotten or overlooked due to their disability. We strive to empower our Souldiers to experience the fullness of life not just on Christmas but 365 days a year! We have been able to help thousands of individuals and we hope that we can continue to be a resource for many years to come! Please consider supporting our efforts by signing up to volunteer, downloading our album, purchasing some merchandise or making a donation.

Q: Thank you so much for your time! To all of the good people at The Soul of Santa, I wish you a joyous holiday season!

A: Thank you for reaching out and we hope you have a wonderful holiday as well! You were one the first publications to reach out in support of our album and we cannot thank you enough. You are the first person to know that we will be releasing a special live album featuring some classics that we know you all will love! Merry Christmas!!!

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