Sixteen-year-old Cameron Nelson has been making a difference in the world ever since he wore a “Save Darfur” shirt on the first day of sixth grade at Avon Middle School. On that day, he started a new fashion trend among his peers that advocated social justice.
"If he wore a T-shirt with words on it, he wanted it to advocate a cause," his mother, Colleen Casey-Nelson said.
Now, the musically-inclined Nelson plans to donate all the funds he has raised following the release of his October 2011 electronica album - Redshift - to a Culver City-based foundation called Playing for Change.
“Their mission really fascinated me,” Nelson said after reading about the organization online last summer.
Playing for change builds schools for communities worldwide and established its first music school in Cape Town, South Africa, about six years ago, according to its website. The group also commissions local artisans to make instruments and hires area music teachers to run the new music programs.
“They’re giving children the opportunity to be creative, especially if their lives are filled with hardship. I think that’s a really beautiful thing," said Nelson who has played violin since fourth grade and dabbled in piano to broaden his composition expertise. He has also sung and played flute.
Nelson has already completed a second album which he says he is considering using for another fundraising effort, but he hasn't yet chosen which cause he'd like to donate the funds to.
Editor's note: A longer version of this article first appeared on Avon Patch.