3rd Annual VOICES FOR THE VOICELESS Concert to Feature Jonathan Groff, James Monroe Iglehart, and More
Your Kids, Our Kids (Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley, Founding Directors) proudly presents the 3rd Annual VOICES FOR THE VOICELESS: Stars For Foster Kids, an event that brings together the very best performers from the American stage and screen to raise awareness about the plight of kids in foster care, particularly those aged 13 and older who are in danger of aging out of the foster care system alone. Combining celebrity, music, and everyday people sharing their incredible stories, VOICES FOR THE VOICELESS: Stars For Foster Kids directly benefits You Gotta Believe, a New York nonprofit specializing in finding permanent families for older kids in foster care. Hosted by Sirius XM Radio host (and Your Kids, Our Kids co-founder) Seth Rudetsky (Disaster!) and James Wesley (Unbroken Circle), this year's concert line-up will feature two-time Tony-nominee Jonathan Groff (Hamilton, Spring Awakening), Tony Award-winner James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin, Hamilton), Grammy Award-winner Stephanie Mills (The Wiz), comedienne Caroline Rhea, Charlene Tilton ("Dallas"), WNBC's Janice Huff and more TBA. VOICES FOR THE VOICELESS: Stars For Foster Kids will take place at The Town Hall (123 West 43rd Street, NYC) on Monday, October 30, 2017 at 7:00pm.
Tickets for THE VOICELESS: Stars For Foster Kids, price at $25, $75 and $150, are now available online at yougottabelieve.org/2017-voices-for-the-voiceless, or by calling Ticket Master at 800-982-2787, or in-person at The Town Hall at 123 West 43rd Street (12pm - 6pm Monday-Saturday).
Today, more than 400,000 children are in foster care in the US, and every year, as many as 22,000 of them will age out of the foster care system. Without the safety net of a forever family to provide the security and comfort most take for granted, these young people are left on their own to face a future filled with hardships - from lack of education to unemployment, higher rates of incarceration, poor health, early parenthood and homelessness (as much as 50 percent of these kids will experience this devastation in their lifetimes). In New York City alone, there are more than 1,300 kids currently awaiting adoption, with more than 700 kids on the verge of aging out.
Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley created VOICES FOR THE VOICELESS in 2015, when they were working with the Council on Adoptable Children and You Gotta Believe to adopt a child out of foster care. At that time, the organizations abruptly suffered major cuts from governmental funding, and the two men decided to do what they have always done when faced with a crisis: gather their friends and put on a show! Over the past two years, VOICES FOR THE VOICELESS concert events have raised almost a millions dollars to support You Gotta Believe's efforts to ensure that every child leaving foster care does so with the support of a family.
Previous VOICES FOR THE VOICELESS concerts featured appearance and performances by Tina Fey, Jane Krakowski, Tituss Burgess, Chita Rivera, Darren Criss, Rosie Perez, Megan Hilty, Gloria Gaynor, BD Wong, Charles Busch, Ann Hampton Callaway, Liz Callaway, Josh Colley, Michelle Collins, Lilla Crawford, Rachel Crow, Carole Demas, Eden Espinosa, Richard Kind, Anika Larsen, Liz Larsen, Alec Mapa, Olga Merediz, Janet Metz, Lisa Mordente, Orfeh, Christine Pedi, Caroline Rhea, Alice Ripley, Roz Ryan, Sherri Saum, Keala Settle, Marc Shaiman, Kate Shindle, Charlene Tilton, Adrienne Warren, Tony Yazbeck, Antwone Fisher, Janice Huff, and more.
Generous support for this year's event is provided by Charter Communications, Digicel, Discovery Communications, The Barbara Bradley Baekgaard Family Foundation, Gretchen Beidl and Michael Willner, Mary Bresnan Fund, LionTree, AMC Networks, Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP, and Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP.
For more information about tickets to and sponsorship opportunities for VOICES FOR THE VOICELESS: Stars for Foster Kids, visit www.YouGottaBelieve.org/voices.
YOU GOTTA BELIEVE (YGB), founded in 1995, specializes in finding permanent parents and families for young adults, teens, and pre-teens in the foster care system who are most in danger of aging out of the system alone. Executive Director Mary Keane has been a dedicated employee of YGB since 2004. Before stepping into the Executive Director role in 2017, Ms. Keane served as Senior Director of Family Permanency and Director of LGBTQ Services. She oversees YGB efforts to provide capacity building and technical assistance to agencies wishing to improve permanency outcomes, and is responsible for youth-specific recruitment work by supervising the recruitment teams and coordinating services to the teens, their families, foster care staff and social workers. Additionally, Keane is an outspoken advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender kids and parents and is the leadership behind YGB's LGBTQ programming and our efforts to recruit and prepare permanent families from the LGBTQ community. On top of her Executive Director role, Keane has been a foster mom to almost two dozen teenagers and is currently the adoptive mother of 13 children. She is a highly recognized speaker both locally and nationally about her experiences as a parent, as well as her YGB-focused advocacy for permanency for every child, regardless of age.
YOUR KIDS, OUR KIDS. After years of volunteering and performing for a myriad of non-profit organizations, including Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, The Actors Fund of America, and Hearts and Voices, husbands Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley decided to form their own 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2015. Your Kids, Our Kids was born, its initial mission to directly help one of the most vulnerable populations in our society -- children -- through creative means. VOICES FOR THE VOICELESS was their organization's first project. Over the following year, it became clear to James and Seth that the number of people at risk in the United States had increased greatly, and that need to support non-profits was more important than ever, so they expanded their organization's scope with a desire to benefit a wide array of non-profit organizations serving a diverse audience but all having a similar focus: fighting for civil and human rights for all Americans. They organized Broadway for Orlando in the wake of the massacre at the Pulse Nightclub in June of 2016. Uniting the Broadway community to sing "What the World Needs Now is Love" (in the style of "We Are the World"), the single charted on Billboard's Hot 100 and to date has sold over 50,000 copies, raising over $100,000 for the Orlando LGBT community. The following month, they presented From Broadway with Love: A Benefit Concert for Orlando, with proceeds going to the LGBT Community Center of Central Florida, Hope and Help Center of Central Florida and Zebra Coalition. On January 20, 2017, they presented the first edition of Concert for America: Stand Up, Sing Out!, which premiered at The Town Hall in NYC, with the intent to raise money and awareness for civil rights organizations, as well as infuse Americans with hope and inspiration and the desire to become more active citizens. To date, there have been eight editions performed around the country, including in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Atlanta. James and Seth are the proud recipients of the 2016 National Leadership Award from the LGBTQ Task Force for their work on Broadway for Orlando's "What the World Needs Now is Love."
Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos