Sunday, October 8, 2023, 2:23 a.m
LOS ANGELES (KABC) — A local choir is changing the lives of veterans who have found themselves homeless. Song after song, they rescued veterans from vulnerable situations and offered them a second chance at life.
According to George Hill, he founded the company 25 years ago New Directions Veteran Choir. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping homeless and at-risk veterans have a better life.
Hill says the choir did just that for him. He spent 12 years on the streets after serving eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
“I know that without New Directions and the Veterans Administration I certainly wouldn’t be here. Period,” Hill said. “I will do everything I can to give back to the veterans coming up.”
Carleton Griffin, who has sung with the group since 2000, said the choir changed his life. The Vietnam Navy veteran served three tours but struggled afterward and lived on the streets for more than 25 years.
Now he sings with the group as much as possible; Appearances with them at weddings, universities and much more. The choir is currently practicing for the New Directions annual gala.
“The choir performs at the gala every year. People love listening to the choir, I’m a big fan myself and they do a great job,” said Christopher Crowley, New Directions development director. “They really show what you can achieve when you’re in the right situation with the right people.”
The group is primarily made up of formerly homeless veterans and they hope to accomplish more with each song.
“One time we were singing at a concert and a veteran came up to us crying and said, ‘You know, this is the first positive thing I’ve seen since they came back,'” said Michelle Mayne-Graves, a registered nurse a local VA hospital and a member of New Directions.
The gala will take place on November 10th and is open to the public.
Tickets and tables can be visited at New Directions website. All proceeds directly benefit the group’s mission to improve the lives of veterans.
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