Page 22



with Ava Rosa

Recapping the United Way RYSE Talent Show

This month, I was given the amazing opportunity to emcee the United Way of Roanoke Valley “Kid’s RYSE Talent Show” on September 15th at William Fleming High School. A week before the event, I was honored to be interviewed by Jenna Zibton at NBC WSLS-10. Jenna Zibton WSLS: “How do you feel about other students your age who are homeless in Roanoke?” Ava Rosa: “Every day after school, I know that I’m going to be going home to the same place and I don’t have to worry about where I’ll be sleeping that night. I also know that I can be whatever I want when I grow up. I think every kid should have a life that they can be focusing on education, so they can be whatever they want too.” Here were my opening emcee remarks at the talent show: “Welcome to United Way of Roanoke Valley’s Kids on the RYSE performance. I’m Ava Rosa, a 10 year old student journalist (I just turned 11 last week!) who will be your host for the night. We are so excited to have all of you here to learn about the RYSE program, to kick off the 2016 United Way campaign and most of all to showcase some of the amazing talent we have in the Roanoke Valley! Before we get started, we’d like to thank each of you who help others right here in our community. You are true examples of what it means to LIVE UNITED. I’d also like to give a huge thank you to Delegate Sam Rassoul and Luke Currie who have helped with the planning of this event. We couldn’t have done this without you!” I was able to speak with Delegate Rasoul’s Community Development Director, Luke Curie at the event.


Growing Up • October 2016

Ava Rosa: “What made you want to be involved with tonight’s event?” Luke Currie: “As Delegate Rasoul’s Community Development Director, we collaborate about the projects that we work on and occasionally he will give me a choice to choose something that is meaningful to me. I learned that there were hundreds of children in the school system who were homeless and as soon as I heard about the United Way’s RYSE Campaign, I immediately advocated to the delegate that this is something I felt strongly that we should become involved in helping out with.”

to inspire self-belief and cultivate potential, so that we can bridge the gap between potential and opportunity. So, when we think about the talent you see here on this stage tonight and when we think about the talent that surrounds us, what we must do is see that as not just individual potential, but the potential of a community and the potential of a region that can be and will be so much stronger when we decide that we must live united!”

In addition to the talent acts that night, there were a few speeches from United Way of Roanoke Valley leaders.

My 8 year old kid sister, Amora, talked with Lacey Levy with the Girls Rock Roanoke organization.

Ashley Reynolds Marshall, Financial Stability Strategies Manager, had this to say about the Rehousing Youth for Success in Education (RYSE) Program: “Your United Way has created a beautiful program called RYSE- Rehousing Youth for Success in Education. What that program does to make sure that children are successful is to help stabilize families by finding quality housing and wrapping them in services provided by our nonprofit friends, right here in the valley, to make sure that we remove all the barriers that keep them from being successful and self-sufficient.”

Amora: “What is Girls Rock going to do tonight?” Lacy Levy: “We have several different musicians, a few of them are in a band and a few are going to do solo acts. They are all going to perform a song of their choice.” Amora: “What do you think kids get out of performing?” Lacy Levy: “I think it is a great way for them to get to express themselves, to build confidence, and to show everyone their true voice and their individuality.” Amora: “Why is it important that we help homeless children?” Lacy Levy: “Because every kid should have an opportunity to grow and be educated, to have fun and to not have all the stress that the homeless do. Any chance we get to participate and to help them get the kind of opportunity that our girls do, is really important to us as an organization.

United Way of Roanoke Valley President and CEO (and full disclosure, my mom), Afira DeVries, had this to say about the purpose of the night: “Every single thing that my babies have access to in this world are things that every child should have access to. There’s a reason why we chose a talent show today and why we chose to showcase the talent of children. Every single person born in this world is born with a talent. Every person in this room has inherent talents. The only question is, will it be cultivated? What we must do is to figure out what it takes

Thank you for reading this story and for supporting the potential and talent of everyone in our community. For Growing Up in the Valley, this is Ava Rosa. See you next time!

Profile for Roanoke Valley Family Magazine

Growing Up In the Valley October 2016  

Volume 5, Issue 2

Growing Up In the Valley October 2016  

Volume 5, Issue 2