Giving Back

Millburn HS Senior Johnny Cleary Co-chairs New Eyes for the Needy Fundraiser

Jake Gyllenhaal, spokesperson for New Eyes. Credits: New Eyes for the Needy
Cameron Wilson, Brian Culligan, Kate Parker, Nicole Trone, Caroline Cleary and Johnny Cleary perform at the 8th Annual “Kids Rock For Vision” Show. 

SHORT HILLS, NJ - Looking to help needy US kids get new prescription glasses, local teen musicians will host the 8th Annual Kids Rock For Vision fundraiser on Saturday, March 12 at Roxy & Duke’s Roadhouse in Dunellen. 

The show, which kicks off at 12:30 p.m., is sponsored and produced by the Chatham School of Rock and features 25 students and alumni of the nationally-recognized music performance school. All proceeds go to New Eyes For The Needy, a Short Hills-based nonprofit that purchases eyeglasses for those who can’t afford them. 

The Kids Rock for Vision event has raised more than $50,000 since its 2009 inaugural show, giving hundreds of kids the gift of sight. 

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“I’ve been involved with the Kids Rock benefit for several years but I’m really exited this year to be one of the co-chairs,” said Millburn High School senior Johnny Cleary, who is heading up this year’s event with Madison High School junior Brian Culligan and Kate Parker, a senior at Governor Livingston. 

“It’s a great opportunity to hear some really good bands and help bring attention to a very important, locally-based organization doing great work worldwide,” Cleary said.

“Doing this show every year is a lot of fun,” Parker said. “There’s great music, it’s a great cause, and every year we try to beat our previous fundraising record. Last year’s show sold out and we’re hoping for the same this year.” 

Last year, the benefit raised $8,000, providing eyeglasses for more than 140 children. Each pair of glasses costs about $56. 

 Cleary and his co-chairs will take the stage with their bandmates from the Chatham School of Rock Street Team, whose members have performed at national venues including Milwaukee’s Summerfest, Lollapalooza and Connecticut’s annual Gathering of the Vibes.

Also performing are Glass Cow, with Governor Livingston senior Teddy Cole and 2015 Watchung Regional High School alum Ben Overzat, and the Witte Committee, fronted by 2015 Madison High graduate Doug Witte.

"It's hard to believe that these are local teenagers performing these songs. They have incredible talent and great stage presence,” said New Eyes Executive Director Jean Gajano. “New Eyes is so grateful for their continued assistance in helping us change the lives of children through the critical yet simple tool of eyeglasses."

Roxy & Duke’s Roadhouse is located at 745 Bound Brook Road in Dunellen. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the door.  The musicians are asking those that can’t make the show to please consider an online donation to New Eyes at

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