Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Hanson tells students they can make a difference in poverty fight

Teeny-bopper rock band Hanson visited the University of Denver to lead a one-mile barefoot walk to fight poverty in Africa on Nov. 3.

“You have the tools you need to truly change the course of somebody’s life,” Taylor Hanson, now a father of four, told more than 60 students and visitors who followed the three brothers across campus in their bare feet, occasionally over patches of snow.

The band, marking its 140th “Take The Walk” barefoot fundraiser, makes a donation to fight poverty in Africa in the name of each walker in the event. Zac Hanson says the charity walks are an ongoing commitment the band feels strongly about.

“It’s something that you’ve got to do when it’s fun and trendy and when it’s not,” he said. “We’ve walked in 90-degree weather and we’ve walked in 30-degree weather. We feel like the things we’re talking about are just doing the simple things that sometimes seem inconsequential, but the act of doing them over and over again and doing lots of little things, makes a difference.”

The Tulsa, Okla.-based band rose to fame with “MMMBop” in 1997 when Zac Hanson, the youngest, was only 12. The band has continued to produce albums and develop its sound and has committed itself to alleviate the plight of the poor and people with HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Taylor Hanson says their idea of walking a mile barefoot is designed to give Americans an idea of what it’s like for a poor child in Africa to live without shoes. So many Americans have taken part in a walk, the band has recorded more than enough miles to walk around the world.

Following the DU visit, the band played a short concert in Denver then moved on to San Francisco.

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