meet ANDREW BENSON
Founder + Executive Director
Andrew Benson is the Founder and Executive Director of The Joyful Project. As a friend and advocate of the homeless community for more than 15 years, he has partnered with community organizations and grassroots movements across the country. Among these projects is the Concert for Socks, a concept that came to life in 2015. Andrew was working at a shelter on a frigid, very-Canadian winter evening, when the number of people needing socks exceeded what the shelter had on hand. Leaving people empty handed that night was heartbreaking and left him thinking of solutions to get these essential, often-overlooked items fully stocked. As an avid concert-goer with an enduring love for music, the question was asked - what if every person who attended a show gifted a pair of new socks at the door? With that question began a multi-year, cross-Canada initiative and Concert For Socks was born bringing the best in live music to the stage while collecting socks for those in need. It has grown in scope to include art created by those living with homelessness and addictions giving concert-goers, bands and the greater community another creative opportunity to share, learn and connect. His passion for helping others combined with his love of music has produced one of Canada’s most innovative charitable live music series. Since 2015, he has led an all-star team of community leaders who make each year’s event possible.
meet TARA PATTERSON
Director of Parties + Event Host
Tara Patterson is the Director of Parties at The Joyful Project. As a communication expert and interpersonal extraordinaire, she acts as host of Concert for Socks and volunteer appreciation events. Among her many gifts, she is a natural at making people feel welcome and included in just about any situation. As founder of the Women’s Empowerment Committee, she is a strong voice for women in the workforce advocating for female leadership in her field. Born and raised in rural Manitoba, Tara moved to several hotspots in North America over the course of a decade. She has now settled back in the prairies calling Winnipeg home. In her off hours, you can find her exploring nature, enjoying time with family and friends, and most definitely, making plans for our next great party. We are excited to have Tara on our team and thankful for all the knowledge and experience she brings.
meet KAYLA BUELER
Team Leader, Winnipeg
Kayla Bueler is a Team Leader with The Joyful Project in Winnipeg. As Team Leader, her project management skills bring the Concert for Socks event from concept to reality. With years of event planning and leadership expertise, she supports the artist selection, marketing initiatives, and planning process. She loves bringing people together to support the community with music as the focal point - the joy felt in the midst of the audience makes the months of planning all worth it. She is a lifelong volunteer with numerous organizations including Winnipeg Harvest, Fringe Fest, Folklorama, and World University Service of Canada. We are grateful that Kayla has teamed up with us to share our love of community.
meet WHITNEY LU
Director of Creativity + Design
As the design expert behind Concert for Socks, Whitney Lu has been with The Joyful Project from day one. Honing her creative skills with numerous brands across Canada, Whitney acts as The Joyful Project’s graphic designer, web developer, and content creator. In addition to her design expertise, her insights have shaped what our projects represent. She shares our love of music and giving back to the community and much of what this great event has become is credited to her efforts. Whitney is also a multifaceted artist working in the fields of photography, design, performance, and advocacy, and she is a founding member and vocalist in alt-rock band, Paper Shakers. She has been a major source of encouragement and support for many years and we are beyond thankful for her generous, collaborative efforts.
meet ANUSHKA SHAH
Social Media Coordinator
Anushka brings years of experience in the fields of communication, digital strategy, and design. Professionally, Anushka has worked in the communications and data analysis department at major corporations located in the heart of Canada's capital. Her work focused primarily on company branding, website design, and digitalized report writing. Anushka personally runs two Instagram accounts, one demonstrating plant-based recipes, and the other relating to mindset coaching. Creating, growing, and maintaining both accounts has allowed Anushka to organically master the ins and outs of social media management. Deeply passionate about topics such as animal rights and mental/emotional health, Anushka believes in using the power of social media to educate and support others on their respective journeys. Anushka hopes to one day live in Hawaii and be the CEO of her own digital business.