NEWPORT, Ky — An organization that helps to empower at-risk children is holding a music festival to keep their mission going.
Mentoring Plus has helped to positively guide hundreds of kids over the past 10 years. But the pandemic slowed down donations, forcing the organization to close their doors during the summer. Now they're hoping to strike a chord with supporters so they can keep going.
Mentoring Plus will host a virtual Music Festival fundraiser featuring performances from regional artists on Saturday starting at 7:00 p.m.
Daniel Huff entered the program at age 13 when her father suddenly died of heart failure. Fueled by anger and rage, she started drinking, acting out and getting into trouble. She said she found family and acceptance at Mentoring Plus.
"No matter what I did outside of here, it was OK, they made everything OK. They didn't care that I had a kid; they didn't care that my mom was going through things,” Huff said.
Board chairman William Cole said COVID-19 is just one of the many obstacles facing the kids they mentor.
“When you think about those high-risk kids -- those who are already facing generational poverty, abuse and neglect -- when they were out of school it was a particularly big challenge. We wanted to make sure we were there for them,” Cole said.
But maintaining life-changing services takes time and money.
"We normally have three major fundraisers every year. We were reduced to only having one and that was a golf outing,” Cole said.
The virtual music festival will feature performances from The Leftovers, Ben Walz, Seconds 2 Surrender, Trauma Illinois and more. The online streaming segments will also feature recorded performances, including a reunion from the Yellow Springs folk band Wheels. Mike Reid, a Grammy-winning musician and Former Cincinnati Bengal, will also perform. He's the man who wrote the song "I Can't Make You Love Me" made famous by Bonnie Raitt.
"There's a lot of people who love that song,” Cole said. “And so this is our opportunity to introduce Mentoring Plus to that music-loving audience.”
Huff is now 27, recently married and sober. She said she hopes that people will be inspired to support the mentoring program.
"It was encouraging and I love the feeling and the love shown here,” Huff said.
Those who are unable to watch the concert can still donate.