Tonawanda News


January 14, 2013

Purpose Driven DJs give back to local charities

music: Business was inspired by NT man's desire to infuse life with beliefs.

Tonawanda News — Watching the disk jockey crank up his sound system and work the microphone like a ringmaster at a circus, it’s probably hard to imagine he’s doing the work of his soul.

But, for Niagara Falls native David Paonessa and his boss, Mike Warren, every gig they do is an opportunity to help others. 

It all started about a dozen years ago when Warren, an electrician at the New York Power Authority, decided he wanted to start his own business after working a second job for about a decade with another area DJ company. 

The North Tonawanda resident was inspired by Rick Warren’s best-selling book, “Purpose Driven Life,” and he was praying about going out and starting his own business. Although he was not related to the author, Mike got a kick out of sharing the same last name, and he had been working to follow the same Christian lifestyle Rick teaches in his book. Mike, a loyal member of Renovations Church in Buffalo’s Black Rock community, had begun looking to infuse more of his spiritual beliefs into his life.

“God put it on my heart to start a business where, not only could we be free to express ourselves musically, but also where we could give back or donate to our community,” he explained recently.

In 2009, with David as his first employee, Mike started “Purpose Driven DJs” with a goal of tithing ten percent of every job to local charities, including YMCA Strong Kids, Carolyn’s House and

the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.

His company slogan was “Helping our city one party at a time.”  

But, beyond helping the community, he’s inspiring his staff, which has grown to four DJs and is led by David. 

A Buffalo special education teacher by day, David has the satisfaction of loving both of his jobs, especially the wedding work.

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