Carbondale youth to display talents at RSO showcase

Those on campus Wednesday evening can stop by the Student Center Ballrooms to see artwork and entertainment by area children.

The artwork by children from Rainbow’s End daycare and Thomas Elementary School will fill the walls of the Student Center Ballrooms during the third annual Carbondale Youth Showcase. The Speaking and Teaching and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity Registered Student Organizations have organized the event since its creation, said Ryan Reed, a senior and fraternity member from Dolton studying speech communication.

Reed said more than 150 Carbondale students will perform in this year’s showcase, and several of the university’s RSOs will introduce the children.

“We hope including the RSOs will showcase how much SIUC students, faculty and administration love the Carbondale community,” Reed said.

Simone Biles, a senior from Chicago studying theater, said the kids are very excited to display their talents.

“They have all types of presentations, from drummers and violinist to singers and rock bands,” she said.

Biles said it’s important for the children to spend time with the college generation because they need role models.

“As we grow in school, we need to realize that kids look up to us,” she said. “They don’t get to see us unless they come to campus, so an event like this is something they are very excited about.”

Byron Madison, a senior from Chicago studying science and a Speaking and Teaching RSO member, said the event is not just for the children, but it’s also a great way for students and faculty to get involved with the community.

“This is something the school can be proud of because these kids are excited that people are actually coming to see them perform,” Madison said.

Madison said each talent will be awarded with a trophy, certificate, school supplies and T-shirts.

“The main goal is to uplift the children and help them blossom so they won’t be shy,” he said. “We have a diverse group of schools, ages and talents because we wanted everyone to be welcome.”

Madison said funds for the event were raised completely by students involved in the Speaking and Teaching and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

Reed said Chancellor Rita Cheng, Mayor Joel Fritzler, Peter Gitau, assistant vice chancellor for student life and intercultural relations, and Michael Shimshak, the superintendent of District 95 schools in Carbondale, will attend the showcase.

The event is free, Reed said, but the RSOs ask that everyone who attends bring school supplies that will be donated to several Carbondale after-school programs and schools in Bangladesh and Kenya.

“We want (the children) to see that by showcasing their talents, they can provide school supplies for themselves and children across the world, as well as many rewards, funding for poverty-stricken and battered children, and most importantly attract an audience of over 600 people who care about them,” he said.

There will be a raffle in which the RSOs will give away a brand new pair of Beats Pro headphones by Dr. Dre, which hold a $399 retail value, Reed said. The raffle’s proceeds will be donated to the Perry-Jackson Child Advocacy Center and the Williamson County Child Advocacy Center.

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