By Eric Blumer
DENVER (CBS4)– What do Tyler Grant and Dejante Tramble have in common? From almost any perspective, nothing at all. They have never met and they live worlds apart.
Tyler Grant of Fort Collins is a renowned musician, National Guitar Flatpicking Champion, and leader of his band, Grant Farm. His life as a professional musician takes him from state to state and stage to stage.
Dejante Tramble grew up near Five Points, Denver.
“I’ve been in Denver all my life,” she says. “My mom is a single parent, so growing up was really hard watching her try to make something happen for me.”
These two strangers lead different lives, yet both appreciate the value of their two communities coming together for a good cause.
Tyler Grant often performs his bluegrass and rock music at benefit concerts.
“It’s part of my mission as a musician,” he says. “I love to play music, but it’s deeper than that. There’s a lot I wish I could do to help certain people, groups, causes. Obviously, there is a lot of trouble in this world, I am acutely aware of that, and I would love to help. I’m not a lawyer, not wealthy, but I have a bit of public outreach, and influence, so I like to use those abilities and tools. I try to help those causes that I can. Everything we perform is from the heart, otherwise it wouldn’t be fun, it wouldn’t be rewarding in any way.”
Grant’s reward can be found inside a small brick house in the historic Five Points neighborhood of central Denver. The sign outside reads, Heart and Hand Center for Youth and their Families.
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Heart and Hand serves 130 third through 12th grade youth and their families, with after-school programs, assistance, meals, as well as academic, social and emotional support.
Their mission states, “By creating a nurturing community, the Heart & Hand Center empowers all young people to realize their potential. We envision a world with no opportunity gap, where all children have access to the resources, skills, and information they need to build vibrant futures.”
Dejante Tramble came to Heart and Hand with her mother.
“I used to come down and volunteer and help out,” she explains, “Eventually I was asked into the program. That was a great opportunity for me. I see the different opportunities that they allow and the doors they open up. There was always someone there who wanted to make sure you were getting the help you needed. I appreciate what they allowed me to do… my way.
After graduating from high school, Dejante went on to college. She is in her third year studying psychology.
“I still receive assistance from the college readiness program,” she says.
Her grades, and her attitude, are both very good.
Dejante becomes emotional thinking back to when her mother was struggling.
“My mom went through a lot of health issues. So knowing they were checking on her, making sure she was okay. And, they were worried about me too. Knowing I had that continued support from them really meant something. It just made me know that I wasn’t just another student to them. Heart and Hand is my family. I know they helped me a lot to stay grounded through life’s bumps. I had their support. They give you that path and the materials to get to a better place in life.”
Which brings us back to Tyler Grant and his guitar.
Grant, along with bandmate, Adrian Engfer, and banjo player, Chris Pandolfi of the Grammy Award winning Infamous Stringdusters, will perform at a benefit concert Friday, June 8, to raise awareness, and funds, for Heart and Hand.
Even though Tyler Grant has never met Dejante Tramble, he is more than happy to help.
“That’s easy,” he says. “Performing at the fundraiser is easy for me, and if that goes a long way in helping some of these kids it’s well worth it.”
Tramble is quick to say thank you to this musician she’s never met.
“For me, knowing that somebody is willing to take the time to be a part of something that has helped mold me is very important to me. You showed that you care for us.”