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Gospel Recording Artist─ Bonita Burney Simmons ─Announces 2nd Annual Fundraiser For Her Nonprofit
Artist reaches out to community and seeks support to open, "My Sister's House", a transitional home for post-incarcerated women in Eastern North Carolina.
By: Bonita Burney Simmons-The Artist
The first of several themed fundraisers planned for 2015, ”Walking in My Sister's Shoes”, will be held on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at the Hampton Inn in New Bern, NC. In collaboration with Ray of Hope Ministries, Tried by Fire Inc. will host this empowering event from 3pm-6pm, to include live entertainment and special guests speakers from the prison and private sectors. While the primary goal of this event is to raise money, Bonita hopes it will INSPIRE others to better understand the plight of women leaving the prison system and EMPOWER others to get involved in her organization's efforts to make a difference.
“The ultimate goal is to be a part of the SOLUTION not the PROBLEM. We just want to help bridge the gap and help bring everything together. We can't put everything on social service agencies. We can't put everything on churches either! These women are our mothers and sisters in need of our help in successfully returning to society and becoming self-sufficient. If they are not whole, restored or in in a good place mentally when they're released from prison, the cycle will just continue. We have to start somewhere!”
Throughout her professional singing career, Bonita has always given back to her community. The artist garners her experience in ministry outreach and making pastoral visits with her late father, Bishop Landon O. Burney.
“I truly believe this is my passion and my assignment to help those who are prison-bound. In 2000, I began this journey of giving free concerts to inmates and to patients in mental hospitals throughout Eastern North Carolina. In additional to giving concerts, I would act as crisis coordinator, advocate and even pen pal for many of them. However, when I went to the prisons, it was not just to sing then return home. Without judgment, I reached out to gain a better understanding so that I could be part of the solution. During my research, I saw the need to help reduce the high recidivism rate of repeat offenders who just end up back into the system because many of them just didn't have a successful plan post-incarceration. Because of my obedience to God, I made a commitment do more! It was then that I began working on the goal of opening and operating My Sister's House, a transitional home that will enable my organization to take a holistic approach in addressing the unique needs of these women.”
With the community's help, the organization plans to achieve their mission of providing women with these necessary tools in a safe, loving and non-judgmental environment. The much needed programs and services that will be provided include training in parenting, coping and life skills. Also, the organization plans to offer spiritual, mental health and substance abuse counseling, just to name a few! Supporters are asked to purchase their tickets now and to join Bonita at the“Walking In My Sister's Shoes” event. The cost for admission is only $15 ($10 early bird discount before 1/30/15) and can be purchased securely online via www.bonitaburneysimmons.com/
Event's Social Media Hashtags: #OperationOutreach2015 #WalkingInMySistersShoes
Who is Bonita Burney Simmons- The Artist?
At age 12, she started her own gospel singing group, a trio called “Tried by Fire.” Determined and focused, Bonita thrived in her role as band leader and demonstrated her entrepreneurial skills at a very young age. Bonita would open up for all the national recording gospel artists who came to town like Shirley Caesar, John P Kee, Luther Barnes, The Winans, The Southernaires and many others. Bonita has appeared and won first place on numerous occasions at the world famous Apollo Theatre in New York City. By the time she reached high school, she was already considered a professional singer!
Today, Bonita is enjoying the flexibility of being an independent recording artist. Her talent is in high demand, as she is frequently requested to sing at venues and events throughout Eastern North Carolina! Although she's experienced many tribulations, Bonita's life lessons are part of her unique tapestry that enables her to relate to people who are hurting. One of her biggest accomplishments is her outreach work with those who are incarcerated, sharing God's love through song. Indeed, Bonita has defined her own success, choosing to embrace an obedient lifestyle according to God’s will for her life and career.