Local Charity offers Voice Competition in Memory of 14 year old Suicide Victim

 
 
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COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. - Nov. 14, 2017 - PRLog -- Local Charity hosts Auditions for Teen & Tween Voice Competition in Memory of Julia Morath

Pillars of Light and Love Founder Kathy Opperman, and Singer-Songwriter Carter Ross will co- direct this program aimed at empowering teens in the community. The goal is to strengthen confidence, and improve performance and skills in youth interested in performing publicly and behind the scenes.

Local Realtor and founder of Pillars of Light and Love, Kathy Opperman, has combined her longtime love for music and her immense joy in helping others into her latest project, the Julia's Joy Voice Idol Competition to be held in January and February at the Shannondell Performing Arts Theater. Kathy created the Julia's Joy program within the Pillars of Light and Love organization in May of this year in memory of Julia Morath, a 14 year old Springford freshman who chose suicide in response to a devastating and embarrassing cyberbullying incident that went viral. Opperman's charity had been offering free life and stress management workshops, as well as youth programs since 2015, as part of her mission to help others to create happy, confident, and courageous lives. Had Julia known about the workshops at Pillars, she may have chosen a different path. Kathy wants to help others choose differently.

"I was in Sedona on vacation and had heard about two local teen suicides. I was actually sitting on top of a small mountain in Sedona and saying a prayer to ask God what I can do to reach these teens? Teen suicide is up 200% in ages 11-14. We had been offering stress and life management workshops, but it was hard to get teens to come, and yet we knew there were so many who needed a safe place to talk and share," explains Opperman. It was the very next day that she received a call about Julia's suicide and it brought her to tears. The third teen in the same week! She was immediately inspired to create Julia's Joy, a program aimed at helping teens create happier lives. Julia was unable to find her joy, but Opperman wanted to honor her in a way that would help to inspire others, and hopefully save lives. Kathy reached out to the Morath family through mutual friends, and found the family very receptive to work with her on honoring their daughter's short life by creating a program aimed at empowering teens to find their joy. Bullying had been a platform of Pillars of Light and Love from the beginning, and so, the Julia's Joy Teen & Tween Empowerment Program was created. Julia had been an advocate for those with special needs due to her twin brother's disabilities. The family felt Julia would have been pleased for her life to be an inspiration to others in a positive way.

The program ran through the summer with over 40 children ages 11-19 attending. "In the beginning we had a set curriculum for our workshops, however we found pretty quickly that it did not work well with the teens. We let those who were attending know they were going to be instrumental in helping us create the program, so we adjusted our curriculum and activities according to their feedback. We also brought in younger instructors in their early 20's who could better relate to the teens, and it was a hit," shares Opperman.

Still struggling to get teens involved over the school year, Opperman came up with the idea to create a voice competition to help empower youth in their confidence with performing. An avid fan of American Idol, and The Voice, she created the Julia's Joy Voice Idol Competition with one of the Julia's Joy Teen Instructors, Carter Ross. Ross had lost several friends to suicide and reached out to Opperman at the beginning of Julia's Joy. As a 22 year old, he made a great connection with teens over the summer and continues with the Julia's Joy Teen Talk program which meets several times per month.

Ross is also a music lover, and is a singer-songwriter. Together, Kathy and Carter are directing the event which will involve teens who perform, as well as a teen emcee for the live shows. They are looking for teen hair and make-up artists to assist the contestants, plus teen videographers, photographers, and production help for the 3 live shows.

Julia's mother, Stephanie Morath, has been very involved in the Julia's Joy program since the beginning. She has spoken to both parents and teens about her experience as a parent of a child suffering with anxiety, depression and an eating disorder. She has been assisting at the auditions and she inspires other teens to get the help they need.

A special room at Pillars of Light and Love has been decorated in purple and gray and was recently dedicated to Julia. It is used for the Teen & Tween Talk programs, as well as the support group Stephanie asked to be created for parents who have lost a child to suicide. It is a group no one wants to belong to, but these parents help each other to heal.

For more information on the workshops, programs, and events offered for ages 5 to Adult, as well as Julia's Joy and the Voice Competition, visit us at http://www.PillarsofLightandLove.org. The charity exists solely on donations. If you would like to support Opperman's work, you may do so online, or send a check to Pillars of Light and Love, 511 W. Main St. Trappe PA 19426.

Contact
Kimberly Doughty
***@pillarsoflightandlove.org
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Tags:Teen, Voice Competition
Industry:Non-profit
Location:Collegeville - Pennsylvania - United States
Subject:Events
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