The Santa Barbara County Jasmine’s Alternative Music School is hosting a benefit concert tonight at SOhO to provide free music lessons and instruments to youths.
The event features five local bands and will donate proceeds to the Sergio Romero Scholarship Fund. Romero — a sophomore at San Marcos High School and student at JAMS — was killed on Oct. 7 after a car travelling 49 mph struck him as he attempted to cross Milpas Street in downtown Santa Barbara.
According to JAMS Executive Director and Founder Nancy Earle, the concert commemorates the young musician’s life and accomplishments.
“We set up the scholarship fund in his honor and his name to keep his memory alive and to offer schooling for children who cannot afford music classes and lessons … it’s a beautiful thing,” Earle said. “He was such an incredible, giving person when he was alive; he just gave back so much to the other kids.”
Additionally, Earle said the benefit helps provide solace for Romero’s family and friends.
“It is so important to honor our past loved ones and people living here now,” Earle said. “Music is very healing and important to our society. We really want to carry his legacy along because he was an amazing student and we want to keep him in our memory and hearts forever.”
The non-profit JAMS provides music education for at-risk teens and low income families in the county.
Earle said Romero actively participated in the group and frequently initiated fundraisers for the organization.
“He used to go down the street and gather other JAMS members and stop with a donation jar and play music to raise money for JAMS and raise awareness,” Earle said. “He was an outstanding young man and already a philanthropist at age 15.”
Sergio Romero Foundation representative Aaron Mendoza said the student’s death impacted the entire community.
The Santa Barbara Neighborhood Advisory Council held a special meeting last week at the Franklin Neighborhood Center to discuss possible measures to prevent similar traffic-related deaths on the corner of Milpas and Ortega Streets.
Local authorities’ failure to increase the street’s safety is disconcerting for many residents, Santa Barbara local Maria Ibarra said.
“Where are the policemen when you need them?” Ibarra said.
The committee developed several potential solutions including the addition of traffic signals, speed bumps and lit walkways.
According to Public Works Director Pat Kelly, installing such safety features would take a year or longer.
“Criteria has to be met to warrant the installation of a signal,” Kelley said.
Doors open at 5 p.m. with performances starting at 6 p.m. Visit sergioromerofund.com for more information on tonight’s concert or to donate to the Sergio Romero Scholarship Fund.