On Saturday, February 13, nearly 350 people came together at Fashion Show Las Vegas and in front of the iconic Fountains of Bellagio to be a part of the first live exhibit developed to bring attention to the challenges youth face as they transition out of the Child Welfare System and are thrust in to the fast-paced world as adults.
Representing the 350 youth who annually age out of the system, the live exhibit participants gathered first at Fashion Show Las Vegas. One-by-one, each individual slowly came together on the Fashion Show Runway revealing t-shirts prominently displaying the statement “ONE can make a difference”—a mantra the group shouted in unison, followed by spontaneous freestyle dancing. A second installation of the live exhibit was taken to the streets in front of the Fountains of Bellagio, where the participants gathered, cheered and danced again to bring attention to an issue that affects many local youth.
“I am overjoyed by the amount of support we received for this event and honored that so many people took time out of their weekend to be a part of our first live awareness exhibit,” said Kari Tillman, executive director of Project Sunshine of Nevada, organizers of the event. “Youth aging out of the system and the alarming statistics associated with them is a topic that is hard to swallow. It is necessary for us to continue to develop inspiring and unique opportunities like this live exhibit, to encourage people to become involved and to be a part of the solution.”
In addition to creating public awareness, the live exhibit will assist with raising money to help fund the 2010 Project Elevate programs. Project Elevate’s mission is to prepare as many at-risk youths as possible, arming them with “essential readiness skills” meant to inform, educate, boost self-esteem and arm these youths with knowledge necessary to live independently.
Many of the live exhibit participants were associated with the HandsOn Network, a national volunteer organization. Companies and organizations that made the live exhibit possible were Accent Promo & Media, Clark County Department of Family Services (Independent Living), Fashion Show Las Vegas, KLAS-TV, Marquis & Aurbach, Mission Industries and Pearvue Productions.
For further information about Project Sunshine of Nevada, visit www.projectsunshineofnv.org.