Young Artists Advocate Better World
by Cam Gould
For ten years, a group of spirited young performers have been using their music and dance talent to bring important messages to Southland youth: Create your goals and dreams. Get well educated. Respect one another. Don’t do drugs.
Based in Hollywood at the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre International, they are known as Kids on Stage for a Better World.
Together with their mothers, who produce and direct the troupe, they comprise a volunteer community service organization which has left its mark throughout Southern California in more than 600 performances.
Diverse dance and music styles are the hallmark of these energetic and remarkably talented performers. Belting out ballads, pop, rock and traditional songs, as well as dancing hip-hop, ballet, jazz and even ballroom, they excite and invigorate each audience they entertain.
Over the years, many of the troupe’s members have gone on to become professional singers, dancers and actors — including Erika Christensen, who grabbed the attention of film audiences and the industry alike with her portrayal of
the drug-addicted teenaged daughter of the national drug czar in Traffic, in which she starred with Michael Douglas. Christensen credits Kids on Stage with increasing her ability to deal with audiences and communicate through the performing arts.
"We’d perform at malls,
fairs and homes for the underprivileged,” she said in an interview published in the June/July 2002 edition of Marquee magazine. “They put you in the chorus until you’re good enough and confident enough to do it by yourself.”
She said the experience “gave me the confidence to communicate directly with strangers. I could sing a song, and when I looked in their eyes I could see they enjoyed it,”
Another familiar face that emerged from Kids on Stage is Lynsey Bartilson, now starring in the Fox TV series Grounded for Life. (See also “Youth for Human Rights,”.)
While boosting careers for up-and-coming artists, the group accomplishes a social mission, which makes it unique.
Through their song and dance, Kids on Stage for a Better World communicate the importance of understanding and trust between people of all races, religions and backgrounds.
"The kids connect their talent with a higher purpose,” said Jean Dale, founder of Kids on Stage for a Better World. “It’s not just about making movies or cutting a CD or becoming famous, but about doing something to help make a better world.”
Through song and dance, group members communicate powerfully the importance of understanding and cultivating trust between people of all races, religions and backgrounds, of avoiding the dangers of harmful drugs, of the critical need to take care of our environment, and of the value of education and why it is so important to have goals and to work toward them.
They have performed regularly at venues such as MacLaren Children’s Center, Foster Parent Associations throughout L.A. County, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hollywood and Pasadena, the L.A. County Fair, Winners on Wheels (a support group for kids in wheelchairs), and many Montrose, Glendale and Burbank events, not to mention the Hollywood Christmas Parade, the La Canada Memorial Day Parade and the Burbank Parade.
Kids on Stage have also entertained audiences throughout the Southland in shopping malls, recreation centers and senior centers, and at the L.A. Marathon, inner-city Olympics, L.A. Convention Center and the Hollywood Bowl.
"This is an especially important time to have a positive influence on kids and their families in a way that will leave them thinking about the world, with ideas of new goals and knowing what they can do to make it a better place,”
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SOMETHING CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT
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