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Youth nonprofits host fundraiser, combine fashion, entrepreneurship and poetry

  • Written by  Andrea Blackstone, courtesy photo
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nonprofitfundraiserAndreaGAMBRILLS, Anne Arundel – A spotlight will shine on youth and their talents, with the help of two nonprofits.

On Sept. 30, from 5 – 8 p.m. at Village Commons Community Center located at 1326 Main Chapel Way in Gambrills, It Takes Two, Inc. and Visions Performing Arts Company will host a generational battle on the runway and via spoken word during their fourth annual Charity Fundraising Fashion Show. Proceeds will also go towards supporting THE M.O.S.T. (Maximizing and Optimizing Students Thinking), a Prince George’s County-based nonprofit that provides performing arts programs for youth.

Attendees of the “Poetry in Motion: Old School vs. New School” will be met with music, poetry, a fashion show, youth entrepreneurs and various vendors. Jaemellah Kemp, a single mother and founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Anne Arundel County-based It Takes Two, said the entertainment fundraiser will partially support the organization’s Tools for Success Scholarship program, which awarded scholarships to three Prince George’s County students for the 2017-18 cycle.

“Our mission is to provide scholarships to students who live in single-parent homes, and we also host life skill workshops and talk about bullying, financial literacy, college and career readiness and youth entrepreneurship,” Kemp said. “All of our scholarship recipients should be at the fashion show, so we will honor them and kind of announce them officially as well.”

Proceeds will also support the organization’s reading challenge. Students in fourth through eighth grades can read in classes or in afterschool programs and then keep the books to encourage them to continue reading with family members at home. Additionally, It Takes Two provides school supplies, books and uniforms to students in fourth grade through college who are living in single parent homes in the greater Washington, D.C. area.

Tyronda Boone founded The M.O.S.T. in 2004. She said the youth ages four and up who participate in the program learn skills beyond those demonstrated on stage.

“Oftentimes (people) look at performing arts and kind of put it in a box or a bubble,” Boone said. “It’s not just about modeling. It’s not just about singing or dancing. It’s really about self- discipline. It’s about time management, because you have to come to practice. You have to be able to juggle your school duties with your performing arts duties.

“It’s so much more than just the performing arts, and that is something that’s kind of like a hidden curriculum that’s lacking in the schools and young people. And I think that performing arts programs can support that, especially when the owners and the directors are kind of letting parents know, ‘Hey, it’s not just about your young person knowing about how to do this turn or do this move. It’s about following through. It’s about not quitting when it gets hard… It’s about figuring it out. It’s about problem solving. It’s life skills.”

Kemp and Boone are both dedicated to investing in the character and development of children. They both underscored the importance of collaboration to achieve goals for their nonprofit organizations.

“The name ‘It Takes Two’ speaks to that (collaboration). One person can do a lot, but when you collaborate, and it’s two or three, or however many come together, you’re able to pool all of your resources together and you’re able to make a bigger impact,” Kemp said. “So for us for as nonprofits, it’s critical to success, especially us grassroots when we don’t have a lot of capital. Budgets are very tight.”

Kemp said collaborating allows both nonprofits’ brands to grow as they reach new audiences. Boone added that event attendees will have an opportunity to learn about what both organizations do in the community, but also to have fun.

“They’ll also be able to relive the old school (music) and to hear some songs that they may have loved and grown up with, and see some fashions that may trigger some special memories for them, and (see) some fun choreography, and also hear songs they love today,” Boone said. “It’s just a really great event, and it’s an event that really celebrates the young people. It celebrates the performing arts. It celebrates entrepreneurship. It celebrates community, and it’s just a wonderful opportunity for families to come together and experience old school and new school together in a fun, creative away.”

To learn about Kemp and Boone’s nonprofits, visit http:// www.ittakestwoinc.org/about and http://www.visionspac.com /Mission.html. Tickets to the fundraiser will be sold at the door and or in advance via Eventbrite.

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