Grayson Shelton’s day job is in a dark, quiet office a stone’s throw from campus proper, a far cry from the stages he graces as frontman for a local indie band.
He jokes that he does IT for a living, but that music is his profession. As manager of information services in the Office of Development, he makes sure that giving is a seamless process. As lead guitarist and vocalist for the local band War Chief, Shelton has transformed what was a solo acoustic act into a five-piece folk group that has played Riverfest, Wakarusa, and, yes, Burgers at Bailey.
It seems his biggest passion has been to blend his two worlds to give back to the community. It’s a mission near to the heart of many at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. We are a campus of givers, from Children International’s Secret Santa and Toys for Tots in the Office of Campus Life to the Chancellor’s Leadership Corps’ food drive and the Staff Senate’s blood drive. And that’s just in the past two months (must be something in the water here).
Shelton’s goal is a simple one this season: “Help someone.”
He seeks to help several someones this weekend with a coat drive at Stickyz in downtown Little Rock. The event this Sunday will take in donations of coats and other clothes. Local organization The Van is handling the donations.
“I think part of it is the fact that I live downtown and I see a lot of people who are without. Some of them are there because they simply don’t have anywhere else to go,” Shelton says. “I just want to be able to help someone if I can because life has been pretty good to me for the most part and not everyone can say that.”
He says that if a coat or some new clothes can make someone feel a little better about his day and maybe encourage him to make a positive step forward, then that’s a bonus.
“[In the Development Office] we work to help out a lot of people come to school that might not have the means to otherwise. Since I’ve been here we raised more than $100 million in the “It’s Time” campaign, which wrapped up last year.
“So I guess you could attribute my wanting to help others by being surrounded by it all day!”
Don’t forget – it’s not too late to give in several ways to the university, either. ‘Tis the season, after all!