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Q&A: Nick Niespodziani talks Yacht Rock Revue, Faith, Live Thrive Atlanta

Since 2010, non-profit organization Live Thrive Atlanta has touched the lives of many people, organizations and businesses with their empowering mission to create a healthy and sustainable environment.

Recently, Life Thrive Atlanta added an additional initiative to their organization, the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials, better known as CHarM.

The purpose of CHarM is to inform Atlanta citizens of the proper disposal of hard to recycle materials to keep them out of the community’s air, water and soil.

In early April, REFRESH chatted with Live Thrive president, co-owner of music and dining venue, Venkman’s and frontman of one of America’s most popular 70s tribute band Yacht Rock Revue , Nick Niespodziani to discuss his success , his faith and his upcoming event with Live Thrive Atlanta titled, “The CHaRM Evening.”

REFRESH: As a jack-of-all-trades, what motivated you to connect with Live Thrive Atlanta? What is the organization’s overall goal?

Niespodzani: A friend of mine asked Yacht Rock Revue to play the first Live Thrive benefit a few years ago. As we played, I watched the slideshow the group had prepared explaining their mission. I thought to myself, “Wow, that’s really important. I want to get involved in that.”

Live Thrive Atlanta is committed to having a legit impact on Atlanta’s environment. Our primary avenue for making this change is the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials, which we opened in April 2015 with the help of the Councilmembers Carla Smith and Alex Wan. It’s the place Atlantans can take all of the stuff they can’t recycle in the blue bins, but they know they shouldn’t throw away. Recycling these items and keeping some of these toxins out of the ground is one of the biggest things we can do to improve Atlanta’s water quality. We’re a big part of the solution to ATL’s tire dumping challenges and keeping mosquitoes at bay.

RF: What is your testimony? How did you manage to quit your day job and fully follow in God’s calling for your life?

Niespodzani: Yacht Rock Revue as a job was a total accident. Hard work, talent and intelligence are prerequisites to making it in music, but anyone who knows anything will tell you luck plays a huge role. We’re fortunate we hit on this Yacht Rock idea and I’m very thankful for that. It’s given me the opportunity to travel the world, pay my bills, go hiking on Mondays and use my influence to affect positive change through projects like Live Thrive Atlanta and the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials.

RF: What makes Live Thrive Atlanta different from your average economic organization?

Niespodzani: With most environmental organizations, the effect is difficult to see, touch or feel. It’s a massive planet. When I think about the 1000 tons of hazardous waste we’ve kept out of Atlanta’s landfills and rivers so far, I’m so proud with what we’ve accomplished and I know that’s making a real difference for the city in which my daughter is growing up in.

RF: What should people expect at “The CHaRMing Event?” What is your overall goal? What is it’s purpose?

Niespodzani: The CHaRMing Evening on Thursday, April 27 combines three of my passions: Live Thrive Atlanta, my band Yacht Rock Revue and my restaurant Venkman’s. People can expect amazing food, tasty libations, an amazing host in Lois Reitzes, smooth music, a wine wall, a silent auction-style raffle and the biggie: someone is going to win a BMW i3 electric car from Global Imports! Raffle tickets for the car are only $100, and anyone can enter. You could spend $100 for a $50,000 car and greatly decrease your carbon footprint. How amazing would that be? We’re only selling 1,000 tickets, so your chances are really good! You can get tickets for the car raffle and the event at charm BMW.org.

RF: What would you advise millennials to do who are afraid to go after their ambitions and goals?

Niespodzani: Be bold and approach the world with an open heart. To paraphrase my favorite author George Saunders, remember that success is a mountain that grows in front of you as you climb it. Don’t be so taken with achieving things that you forget to address the important things – love, kindness, wonder… Also – make lots of mistakes. Big ones. It’s fun.

To learn more about Nick Niespodziani & CHaRM, check out the video below:

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Erica Relaford is the founder of refreshthemagazine.com. As a strong woman of God, Erica is willing to spread the Gospel to all who walk in her path . Outside of her career as a teacher, mentor and motivational speaker, in her free time, Erica loves to travel, cook and spend time with family and friends.

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