By Luke Finster

There is an opportunity available for Eastern students to attend a free concert in Lexington next April. All you have to do to receive a free ticket is volunteer a few hours to help give back to the community. The United Way 10,000 Hours Show hopes to use music to motivate participation in volunteer work officials said. All students have to do is sign up to volunteer at a non-profit of their choice on the United Way website and they can reap the award of a free ticket to the concert. The minimum for students to volunteer is 10 hours and they have until April 2010 to sign up.

“Many college students don’t realize how easy it is to volunteer and how much it makes a difference in their lives and the lives of others,” David Kitchen, director of Communications at the United Way of the Bluegrass said.

While the band will not be announced until early next year, officials say not to worry: It will be a familiar name to college students. Past 10,000 Hour Show bands have included Girl Talk, OK GO!, Guster, Ben Folds, Clap your Hands Say Yeah, Cake and others.

Officials say not to wait to sign up. Preferred seating and prizes will be handed out to those who get their hours in early and for those with the most hours. All student organizations are also encouraged to sign up.

While the 10,000 Hours Show is not a new project, this will be the first time the event will take place in Kentucky.

“College students are an untapped unity. Many students would like to get involved but are not sure how,” Jim Gleason, Department of Communication instructor said.

“The 10,000 Hours Show lays out that structure and makes it easy for students.” Gleason has also taught a public relations class about how to market events like the 10,000 Hours Show on college campuses.

Officials from the United Way of the Bluegrass are very excited to get Eastern students involved in the project.

“Eastern students have been phenomenal about raising awareness about United Way and the importance of volunteerism,” Kitchen said.

While the United Way of the Bluegrass only asks for ten hours per volunteer, the hope is that students will volunteer for many more. Officials invented the name 10,000 Hours Show, hoping that at least 1,000 people will volunteer to give 10 hours each to equal 10,000 hours.

Gleason hopes volunteering for the 10,000 Hours Show will become a stepping-stone to a lifetime commitment in community involvement.

“The people that need help can include anyone and passes through all demographics,” he said. “Anyone at anytime may need someone to give them a helping hand.”

Officials hope this 10,000 Hours will be a success and that local organizations will take this event and run with it and make it an annual event for central Kentucky.