Musician Billy Joel once said, “Musicians want to be the loud voice for so many quiet hearts.” Seventeen-year-old Riverview High School student Riley Stanley is the voice for many quiet hearts of students in the Best Buddies program at Riverview High School.
“I started playing guitar when I was about 8-years-old and began to sing when I joined the chorus department at Riverview High School,” Stanley said. “I have always loved music. I first heard The Monkees and The Beatles when I was about seven and it created a connection to music that continues now, and I think would always be a part of my life. In fact, many of the songs I play now are songs from The Beatles that I loved as an elementary school student.”
Best Buddies is an organization that helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by creating personal relationships between them and their fellow students.
“Growing up I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time around children with special needs,” Stanley said. “These important interactions have given me a desire to help others. I joined Best Buddies as soon as I got to Riverview High School.” Stanley will be hosting a concert at Leaven Brewing in Riverview on Saturday, December 22 from 7-10 p.m. He will be donating all his tips from his performance to Riverview High School’s Best Buddies program.
“Leaven Brewing has been open for almost a year and is becoming a local fixture for neighbors and friends to meet up with their families and dogs to enjoy some good food and beverages,” Stanley said. “Jillian and K.J., the owners of Leaven, have been very supportive of me; they gave me my first paid gig when I was only 16 years old. It was a great success and a lot of fun. They are excited about this performance and that the money raised will be going to Best Buddies at Riverview High School.”
Stanley hopes to raise as much money as possible for the Riverview High School’s Best Buddies program as they prepare for the annual Friendship Walk in downtown Tampa on Saturday, May 4. “I would be happy with any amount of money that I can raise, but the more the better, of course,” Stanley said. “I would also like to raise awareness for the Best Buddies program. It would be great to get more people involved.”
If you would like to check out some of Stanley’s live performances, you can visit his YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAN4Llx6l4naqfHWgcUSzoA/videos.
To learn more about Best Buddies, visit www.bestbuddies.org. Leaven Brewing is located at 11238 Boyette Rd. in Riverview.