Local Youth Band Leads the Way in Helping Others

As residents of the Treasure Valley, we pride ourselves on being a community where people are not afraid to pitch in and help out. The Runaway Hamsters, a local music group does exactly that.

The group comprised of four siblings–10-year-old Isabella and 9-year-old triplets Gabby, Abby and Riley Keen–started as a band to raise money for a friend who was being treated for cancer. Together they produced a CD and sold it at local stores making nearly $1,800. The Hamsters didn’t hesitate to get involved.

“They saw up close how life can deal difficult circumstances to undeserving people. Their hearts opened and they started helping,” says Barb Keen, mother and manager of the sibling group. Barb explains that they were amazed at how their decision to pitch-in sparked the desire in others to get involved.

“One of the most overwhelming realizations for us was how many people around this country actually care” explains Barb. “When our efforts around helping our buddy Matt got some attention, calls came in from all over the country. People with no connection to Boise or us have made donations and offered to help. You never know what your small action might do to spur on others.”

That was just the start of what is becoming an adventure for The Runaway Hamsters.

“We have been enjoying this musical, helping journey and can’t wait to see where it goes” says Keen.

The Hamsters continue to keep busy showcasing their talent and helping others. Since the release of their original single, “Runaway, the young rockers have continued to give to the community through their music. They partnered with St. Luke’s Hospital and local radio station 107.9 Lite FM to raise nearly $20,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network. Most recently, they opened at the Boise State University dance FTK marathon fundraiser helping to raise $65,000.

As a follow-up to their first single, The Hamsters are currently finalizing and preparing for the release of their six-song album Hamsters in the House. It will be available for presale on their website and through iTunes this month. They have also created two music videos and just finished working on a third in April with major producer Roman White in Nashville.

“All of it has been an adventure. We have connected with a magical animation studio and they are now lending their creative talents,” says Barb. “Every step has been fun and educational.” Our producer has big ideas about next steps and some very creative people are involved. We are enjoying the ride and ready for the adventure.”

Barbara Keen has some advice for those who want to get involved but may feel hesitant.

“First of all, helping others is always a positive when you do it from your heart. Others may not understand, but if your heart says help, help” advises Barb. “For parents, I would just say let your heart be your guide. Don’t worry about what others think, just do what you feel is best and encourage your kids the same way. There is much good inside us if we are not afraid to let it out.”

The Runaway Hamsters exemplify people allowing the good inside them to come out and impact the community in a positive way. Follow their lead. Get out there and help others and you too can make a difference. If you have not yet listened to the Hamsters in your house, check out their music videos and watch for the new album Hamsters in the House by visiting their website at TheRunAwayHamsters.com or connecting with them via Facebook and Twitter.