Ron Beer has been entertaining international audiences with his songs and singing for 40 years, and now the multi-talented Markham businessman is using his talents to pay it forward, with a unique initiative to help individuals with mental health issues.
Beer, whose skills include music, martial arts and animation, has been volunteering at the Canadian Mental Health Association for 10 years. The first five years he performed in the mental health unit at the Markham Stouffville Hospital, and the last five he has been doing it at the outpatient program called The Living Room.
Last May he raffled off compacts discs and books he produced, and used the proceeds for The Living Room, buying a coffee machine that uses singular packets and purchased a couple of cases.
He changed his performance schedule from monthly to weekly, and now requests he be compensated with single coffee packs that he then donates to the The Living Room.
He is calling it K Cup Concerts For Mental Health, and plans to do it for an entire year.
The results of his performance, he notes, are that people approach him to tell him how much impact he has had. One individual, who hadn’t spoken to his father in two months, reconciled with him having been inspired by one of the concerts.
“It’s 10 years of doing this now, and there’s a lot of really, really touching stories that make me realize how lucky I am.”
He is hoping this story will help provide publicity for his initiative.
Fraser Hoban, Peer Support Leisure Coach at CMHA, praised Beer for his continued volunteer work.
“Ron brings joy with his personality, and through his music he often reminds the members of emotions and parts of themselves that they’ve forgotten with time,” Hoban told Simcoe Review. “He brings unique joyous effect that lingers among us after he leaves.”
Beer is an international recording artist who is popular in the Southern Texas market. He has been booked to do a small tour in January as part of the Barnabas Connection for flood relief in Wimberley, Texas.
A graduate of Humber College music program, Beer has performed for 40 years and is the creator, author and star of the Boogie Boys Blues musical and graphic arts show, aimed at young audiences. He also mentors amateur songwriters.