My name is Will Boyajian, the founder of HopefulCases, and the big ol' mustached face you've be seeing on your r/Pan feed.

HopefulCases is a NYC based charity founded in 2017, where musicians would play music in the streets with a sign that read "If you're homeless or need help you can take as much money from the case as you need". Our musicians are volunteers. We get to play our music, people get help and a friendly face. It's a sweet system.

We used to spend hours and hours playing underground in the subways.

Since the pandemic has made it impossible to play in public, we've taken to the airwaves. Playing music on streaming services, and directing those who need help to simple ask through out website. We're not here to judge, we're here to give. Asking for help is hard, but it doesn't have to be. Sometimes you just need a little help from a neighbor to get out of a hole. We try to be, and encourage others, to be that neighbor.

We stream every weekday on r/pan at 11am and 3pm Est.

If you need help, you only have to ask: Hopefulcases.org/Help r/HopefulCasesMusic Instagram: @HopefulCasesMusic Twitch: HopefulCases

EDIT: 10:55AM. Gotta go run and do a stream, will be back in an hour or so! EDIT II: Im Back My Proof: https://imgur.com/a/AqMvIIi

Comments: 135 • Responses: 51  • Date: 

garbyblarby21 karma

Thank you for everything you do and for making my days during these crapola times.

  1. What is the ideal state you'd like to see Hopeful Cases get to? ie. hundreds of musician volunteers, an organization with a board, etc

  2. What are the obstacles standing in the way of reaching this ideal state and how can people help you?

Yromemtnatsisrep18 karma

Great question.

Pre-Pandemic, our goal was to always have a musician playing in the streets in every major city in the US. To have a little hub to let people know that if you get really hard up, there is a person and place that has your back.

Post pandemic has really flipped the whole model on its head. Our biggest challenge now is getting situated tech-wise to keep this streams going against the volume of content the internet has, as well as finding a more efficient and transparent way to distribute funds. Volunteer wise is finding musicians who are willing to dedicate the time to do this. We'd like to find more.

What has been heartwarming to me, is the sheer number of people who are taking this project's reigns themselves and spreading the word with no directive from me and my team.

eaaron8111 karma

What inspired you to pick up your first instrument and learn it? What was that instrument?

Yromemtnatsisrep15 karma

It was guitar, and I couldn’t play basketball so I had to do something. I have a older brother who is a remarkable musician and I basically just copied Him in every way.

mogoggins1210 karma

Hey! Your hair is fantastic, I know you hear that one a lot, but are you planning on going back to the styled hair do you used to have or are you content letting it be wild for now?

Obligatory, your streams are just great. They really help me get through my day. As a former homeless gal who got pulled out by some kindness and hard work you really do inspire me to help as much as I can. Thanks a million xx

Yromemtnatsisrep12 karma

So happy to hear you were able to pull yourself up out of that difficult hole. It's no light task.

While I love my big ol' pompadours, for the time being I'm enjoying letting this grow wild. But eventually, I'm going to have so shave it all, sadly.

mogoggins124 karma

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, ehy :)

Completely understandable! Your hair grows so quickly, will you be donating it? I bet someone out there would love to have it, or you could auction it off to the thirsty people and donate that money to the cause?!

Thirdly, when will you pay the dog tax? This is the real question.

Yromemtnatsisrep9 karma

I don't think it'll get long enough to donate, but if it does, I will.

My dog is currently a bit under the weather with a weird infection on his face, so he is not his normal photogenic self, but soon I will

daviskokoy9 karma

Has Hopeful Cases tried to partner with other companies/brands to amplify their ability to give? I know that you’re now a 501(c)(3), so I wonder if there are companies looking for somewhere they can add some money in exchange for public goodwill?

Yromemtnatsisrep11 karma

We're definitely experiencing a period of growth right now, and currently have some Round-Up campaigns in the works. More so, there are some excellent other non-profits we're trying to join up with to pool resources/drive/etc.

Also, Crystal Light with Caffeine would be a good sponser for us.

Bad-Extreme7 karma

They say music is the medicine of the soul, so is there any piece/song you’d like to recommend to us in these trying times? Also, any favourite instruments or pieces?

From one (amateur)violinist to another, I wish you the best of luck and have a good day!

Yromemtnatsisrep7 karma

Tom Traubert's Blues by Tom Waits, Church Street Blues by Tony Rice, Song To Woody by Bob Dylan, and, I Remember Clifford by Mark Murphy are all my "I feel like garbage" standards.

NoCupcake41617 karma

Hopefully one day you can be out busking in the subway again. If that happens, would you consider live streaming the session? You have a lot of fans!

Yromemtnatsisrep14 karma

That would be nice! I have a feeling however that by the time it's safe for us to play outside again, people will be tired of my big ol' pumpkin face cloggin up their feed.

I'll probably still do it anyway

LadyFruitDoll7 karma

Do you secretly give a fuck what your dad thinks?

Yromemtnatsisrep10 karma

Heavily so. He's not fond of that joke.

Dankwhalez7 karma

Would you allow Noodle Man to twerk for donations to Hopeful Cases?

Yromemtnatsisrep7 karma

Would I allow it? I would be honored. Noodle Man Twerkin' For Good would be a huge hit I think. I dig Noodle Man.

Dankwhalez7 karma

Noodle man currently has no aim or purpose for what he does... He would love nothing more than to find a deeper purpose in his gyrations.... even if it’s just once.

Yromemtnatsisrep8 karma

Haha. Love it. Send me a dm or pm or whatever and we’ll chat!

Rhapsodic_jock1086 karma

I have seen you play on the stream. What instruments can you play? How did you learn them?

Yromemtnatsisrep10 karma

I play guitar, harmonica, upright bass, mandolin, banjo, piano, drums, concertina and am currently learning violin. I learned most by ear, playing out live, and having few friends in highschool.

DUBIOUS_OBLIVION6 karma

I thought you were Serj Tankian from the thumbnail.

Do you.. Get that a lot?

Yromemtnatsisrep6 karma

Constantly. We're both Armenian.

LessCoolThanYou6 karma

Which musician, past or present, would you most like to meet?

Yromemtnatsisrep10 karma

overwhelmingly Tom Waits. I think he is the greatest musician of the 20th/21st century. I have written him letters. Like, more than a chill amount of letters. Tom Waits, if you ever see this. My apologies for sending so many letters. But also, My teas gone cold I wonder why

LessCoolThanYou3 karma

In the same vein, what's your favorite genre of music? Do you have a favorite song to play?

Yromemtnatsisrep8 karma

Rockabilly, Bluegrass and Folk are my favorites.

Farewell and Adieu (Spanish Ladies) will always have a very special place in my heart.

KindnessOnReddit5 karma

Hello! This is the first I've heard of your organization, and I freaking love it :)

Congrats on the 501c3 status, I'm only asking this because I'm a nerd, but how the heck do you track your funds for your 990 or annual reports?!

Your donations are SO direct /streamlined (volunteer musician to person in need) that must take a LOT to track.

Yromemtnatsisrep5 karma

It's a mess. The digital format has been much easier to manage because its all in/out through one source/account and rest gets poured into other organizations.

The street donation model is much trickier, and we've had some issues with musician volunteers for sure.

SurviveYourAdults5 karma

ever heard of, or worked with Playing For Change?

Yromemtnatsisrep3 karma

No, but I like the title. I'll look into that!

IuneIIa5 karma

Hey Will! I've been tuning in to your rpan sessions and I keep reading comments of people saying you look like [insert guy with long hair and goatee here (mostly Frank Zappa)]. Does this annoy you in any way or do you not mind at all? Anyway, I love what you're doing and I wish I could donate. All I can do is upvote and give free reddit awards lmao love ya dude!

Yromemtnatsisrep3 karma

No. I do look like Frank Zappa and Serj Tankian had a child who slipped out of the crib.

We always say, the BEST way to donated to us is just to pay it forward within your own community. It makes our job easier.

LessCoolThanYou5 karma

How do your parents feel about their basement becoming famous?

Yromemtnatsisrep10 karma

I don't think they know fully. They just know I'm down here being loud, but they've always been supportive of the project.

intelligentjake5 karma

I only got to know you because of your stream. I guess you now reach a wider audience because of the pandemic. Did the pandemic changed the amount of donations HopefulCases get?

BTW, love your work! You guys are legends.

Yromemtnatsisrep8 karma

It changed the donations. When playing on the street, we received way more donations but mostly 1-5$, we now receive fewer individual donations but they are larger.

Whats nice now, is the way we give money allows us to check in on those we help from time to time to see how they're doing

Battee5a5 karma

Hello. Thank you for your streams, they are awesome. Also, thank you for the charity, not mamy people do good unless they get something from it, seeing humans benevolent and generous is refreshing. I was wondering why you chose acting as a profession when you are obviously an incredibly talented musician?

Yromemtnatsisrep5 karma

I'm better at acting, and as a musician, i'm entertaining because I'm fast and goofy, but not particularly because I'm musically talented. I can't read music, and I'm really locked into the genres I play. There's huge areas of fundamentals I just can't do. I also play kinda, dead genres.

Also, I do alot of musical theatre that requires the playing of instruments.

Battee5a3 karma

That is really great, I am someone who is very very far from music and entertainment, you made me discover a genre that has become one of my favorites. Thank you for that. Also, is there anyrhong specific we can watch you act in. My google search got me a few movies , no theatre.

Yromemtnatsisrep7 karma

I do mostly theatre, so it's not recorded, but I'll maybe start haring some links on the subreddit if there is want.

Whenitrainsitpours865 karma

What is your favourite instrument to play and which to listen to?

Yromemtnatsisrep8 karma

To play, overwhelmingly it is upright bass. Something about the action of rockabilly slap bass with the size of the instrument is a blast. It's like having a friend you hit but you both are into it, so its ok.

Listening wise, I love flatpicked guitar and cello. Any instrument with a voice really.

LessCoolThanYou5 karma

How do you keep looking on the bright side when it’s hard to stay positive?

Yromemtnatsisrep15 karma

the late, great John Dunsworth (Jim Lahey on trailer park boys) once said, "when you're dead, you're dead. but you're not so dead if you contribute something" I try to live by that the best I can.

I'm already going to be playing music alone in my room, might as well use it for good while I'm at it

DoesItMatterTh05 karma

[deleted]

Yromemtnatsisrep12 karma

No, it's not true. Have I lived in my car briefly, yes. But I was fortunate enough to have a support structure and safety net if things got hairy enough. Thats a luxury that many/most do not have.

DoesItMatterTh03 karma

[deleted]

Yromemtnatsisrep14 karma

Meh. I understand it. I used to be a cynical, doubtful person as well. Why shouldn't they be, the American systems that be have by and large failed to properly and effectively allocate resources to those that need them. This however doesn't mean we should lose hope or abandon our goals.

Also, I like to improv. songs about the trolls. I dig it tbh

DoesItMatterTh03 karma

[deleted]

Yromemtnatsisrep6 karma

It's fun for me, and it takes the power away from them. I love a light ribbing, and for the most part thats all i've received. As a whole, everyone one has been unbelievably supportive and nice.

akimura174 karma

You’re my fav reddit streamer, you have the best hair and your Dylan dubs are the best! I wanna ask about the shirts, do you own multiples of the same shirt?

Yromemtnatsisrep8 karma

Sorta, I just don't own many. When one breaks, I just go a buy a replacement of the same shirt. It's like a uniform at a sloppy school for wayward boys.

Also I gained alot of weight during the pandemic and none of my stuff fits.

EDIT: Also, I guess Im just kinda gross.

FuturistAnthony4 karma

Hi! I watched some of your streams and you are so entertaining, talented and kind! You even answered one my requests for a song :) I also really like your hair. You’re really inspiring!

What is the most common song request you’ve gotten on your streams?

Yromemtnatsisrep3 karma

Free Bird and Toss a Coin To Your Witcher.

Big Iron seems to be a popular one as well

LessCoolThanYou1 karma

You play the latter two frequently, will you ever play Free Bird for the fans?

Yromemtnatsisrep2 karma

I guess I'll have to. I really dont wanna, but if its what the people want.

MisstressOfMystery4 karma

Which one of your original songs are your favorite?

Yromemtnatsisrep5 karma

High rise (devil woman) and this new one Josephine are my two favorites.

Maybe long time gone. Also my lactose intolerance rap

LessCoolThanYou4 karma

When will your album be released?

Yromemtnatsisrep7 karma

Hopefully, before Christmas. Realistically, in the spring of 2023

LessCoolThanYou3 karma

Will you ever make an album of songs that you play most frequently on your streams?

Yromemtnatsisrep5 karma

I'd have to learn the entire songs, which I clearly don't know. But I like that idea!

Modernglib4 karma

What is the wackiest thing anyone’s requested you to play?

Yromemtnatsisrep5 karma

The home depot theme song, and the theme from Nickelodeons hit 90's animated series Rugrats

Modernglib5 karma

Awe man im a sucker for the depot I requested that one actually

Yromemtnatsisrep5 karma

its you!

klrodine4 karma

What makes you do this?

Yromemtnatsisrep16 karma

I made a new years resolution in 2017 to give money everytime I was asked on the street. It quickly became 50$ a day, and was simply not sustainable for me at that time.

However, I really couldn't give up on the idea, and it really showed me how great the need was. I wanted to come up with a way to continue that work but with my very specific skillset.

We believe that if a friend or neighbor asked for help, you would give it. We try to treat everyone like friends and neighbors

_SnackQueen_4 karma

There are a lot of mid evil, country/blue grass/ 80s covers of different popular songs. Would you ever do something like that? Even if it was just instrumental. I would be super stoked if that happened.

Yromemtnatsisrep3 karma

Yes. 100%. They happen randomly all the time in the stream

Spanglish884 karma

Hey, Jabroni Where do you see your charity in five years?

Yromemtnatsisrep12 karma

In 5 years I see in a position where we have musicians/bands in every major city doing HopefulCases, and where we have a team of volunteers spreading the help and message as a self sufficient organization.

In 25 years, I'd like to see the organization disband because their is no more need.

darthmayerthewise4 karma

do you intend to continue streaming after covid-19 for your fans who cant see you in nyc?

Yromemtnatsisrep5 karma

Idk yet. I think I will. I’ve never had fans before.

LibraryNotFound4 karma

I have a friend who is learning to play the guitar. She does not have a Reddit account. She was kicked out of the house at 15 and was homeless as a teen for over a year. I told her about all of this, you, the charity, and what yall do. She said, "If I get really good, do you think he would let me be a part of this?" So that's her question. Thanks! Oh, and I really dig your music and what you do. If you ever wanna do something in northwest Arkansas I would 100% happy to help in any way.

Yromemtnatsisrep3 karma

Yes. Tell her she’s a badass.

circit3 karma

I’ve seen comments on your streams that are like you look like a cross between celebrity 1 and 2. What’s your favorite?

Yromemtnatsisrep3 karma

“Bob Ross and Aaron Rodger’s corny Butt Child”

mapeche3 karma

Do you have a favorite story since starting the charity that you can share? Like someone helped or something unexpected that came from it?

Do you work with other charities or causes?

How far does the charity reach? Just NY, the US or global?

Yromemtnatsisrep5 karma

The first day I ever did this, I was in the subway and I saw a man come up with his life on his back. He had a pit bull with him. He took a few dollars and turned to his dog and say “we can get you inside tonight. We’re gunna be ok”

Once, overwhelming the worse-condition man I’ve ever seen took some money from the Case. Sores from diabetes on his legs. Wearing rags. He took like 10 dollars from the case and walked away, didn’t say anything. Came back about 15 minutes later. He had bought me two Gatorade’s cause he said I looked thirsty.

People are good.

toomanysleeves3 karma

What’s your weapon of choice when fighting homeless?

Btw I’ve watched some of your streams, you’re great and I think what you’re doing is awesome.

Yromemtnatsisrep5 karma

Hugs.

bosnianbeast1233 karma

You’re a musician? Name every song.

Yromemtnatsisrep3 karma

BC or AD?

Raiden115X3 karma

What's it like looking like the brother of the Chicken lover from South Park?

Yromemtnatsisrep5 karma

It's ok. We're not terribly close anymore. I see him during thanksgiving. We have to keep him away from the turkey

DoesItMatterTh03 karma

Ever read a comment while performing that left you speechless for a few seconds? If so what was it about?

Yromemtnatsisrep5 karma

Yes. Just today. It’s not worth repeating. But it involves strippers and tears. Just....don’t people

TheLostAlaskan2 karma

What led you to leave System of a Down?

Just kidding.

I see your live work all the time and find it to be really inspiring! Thank you for doing what you do. Sorry that I don’t have a real AMA question. I just wanted to say that you’re awesome.

Yromemtnatsisrep3 karma

Thank you! But fun fact, serj tankian never really liked metal music. He just did it cause it was fun, then the band caught on and got famous. Dude literally is t a fan of his own genre.

Sirscruffalot2 karma

Was homelessness your inspiration behind Raining in Baltimore?

Yromemtnatsisrep3 karma

Yes! Good ear!

travisdeahl7242 karma

Have you met any famous people?

Yromemtnatsisrep2 karma

Mr. Rogers when I was a kid.

travisdeahl7241 karma

Cool, I grew up close to his hometown. Where did you meet him at?

Yromemtnatsisrep1 karma

I don’t remember. I was really little.

My sister sat next to vanilla ice on an economy flight and I guess he wanted to talk the whole time.

One time I shh’ed Audra McDonald

congxing1 karma

Thanks for doing what you do. How many musicians have joined the charity so far?

Yromemtnatsisrep2 karma

There is no set number, as we don’t get regular volunteers. We have times where we had 20 sometimes 5, sometimes just me. It depends a lot on the weather and what’s good on TV

BittahObserver1 karma

I’ve never watched a single one of your streams (sorry!) but whenever I see you can’t help but think you look like a classical music version of Serj Tankian. Thoughts?

Yromemtnatsisrep3 karma

While American, We’re both ethnically Armenians whose families immigrated during the diaspora. Because of the Genocide of the Armenians by the Ottoman Turks during the early 20th century, the population experienced a genetic bottleneck due to a huge % of the population being killed. Because of this, the group is fairly phenotypically homogenized. Plus we both have weird facial hair.

That’s why I kinda look like Serj Tankian.