STATELINE, Nev. — Music and humor can evoke the greatest and counter the worst emotions.This is the theme of Saturday’s event You’re Not Alone in Blu Nightclub at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa. It is a fundraiser for the Solace Tree, a nonprofit support group for bereaved children, teens and family members.After he was diagnosed with bladder cancer, Emilo Parga recalled his father’s death and decided to dedicate his life to grieving children. Solace Tree is in it’s ninth year.“These kids need to be heard,” said Parga, a co-founder. “They need a support group and to talk to other kids to know they’re not alone. I was going through that personally. I thought what do I want to do now? Teaching and counseling is a great deal but I’ve got to do something for these kids.”Parga spent Tuesday afternoon sledding at Boreal with two children when he discussed Solace Tree. He survived the cancer and evoked enthusiasm about a new lease on life.“That’s me learning from the kids and the teenagers,” he said. “Yeah, I’m an expert on my own grief because my dad died, but when I hear from the kids, the teenagers, the adults, the young adults, basically, that’s what makes us know what we know. It’s given us an insight to what matters and what’s real. We all grieve differently. You sit down with these kids and they disclose everything because they want to be heard. The kids are the teachers.”Parga shared his story in his Reno home with a cable television installer, Shane Whitecloud, who also is a southern rock band, Seasons of Insanity. Whitecloud immediately volunteered his band to play a benefit concert for Solace Tree.Seasons of Insanity, the hip-hop and rock band Knowledge Lives Forever and acoustic alternative rock band Workin Minerva will perform at You’re Not Alone, along with Rodney Dangerfield tribute comic Rod Rodriguez and Donny Harris.Whitecloud’s daughter died 14 years ago.“ I wanted to help,” Whitecloud said. “I felt really passionate about what his project is because if something like this had been around when I was going through mine, then I probably would not have gone as deep as I did.”South Lake Tahoe’s Athena McIntyre is an organizer of the You’re Not Alone event and the bandleader of Workin Minerva.“They do everything for these kids who are struggling,” McIntyre said. “It’s really amazing.”McIntyre and Whitecloud have been friends since auditioning together for Season 2 of the music competition “The Voice.”The Solice Tree serves more than 200 children, 50 teens and 100 adult family members.“It’s a contribution to society to let them talk. ... They are angry and depressed and they get to talk about it. All free.”The work today is important, he said, “so there won’t be unresolved grief 20 years from now.”
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