Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley proudly presented the 3rd Annual Voices For The Voiceless which stars foster kids and the very best performers from the American stage and screen to raise awareness about the plight of kids in foster care, particularly those aged 13 and older who are in danger of aging out of the foster care system alone.
Today, more than 400,000 children are in foster care in the US, and every year, as many as 22,000 of them will age out of the foster care system. Without the safety net of a forever family to provide the security and comfort most take for granted, these young people are left on their own to face a future filled with hardships – from lack of education to unemployment, higher rates of incarceration, poor health, early parenthood and homelessness (as much as 50 percent of these kids will experience this devastation in their lifetimes). In New York City alone, there are more than 1,300 kids currently awaiting adoption, with more than 700 kids on the verge of aging out.
Created in 2015, over the past two years, Voices For The Voiceless have raised almost a millions dollars to support You Gotta Believe’s efforts to ensure that every child leaving foster care does so with the support of a family.
Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley opened the show as Stephanie Mills sang “Never Know Love Like This Before” and the house went wild!
Between the songs adopted foster children told stories of how their adoption came about. Willie Garson spoke about how he came to adopt his son Nathan he spoke of always singing a special song called “The Me Nobody Knows,” sung by Eliseo Roman.
Yolanda and Loretta introduced Danielle Brooks who sang “I Got Love”.
Jasmine and Riccardo Jeffery Seller (Hamilton Producer) who spoke about his own adoption and how the song “Both Sides Now” contained lines that stuck with him. Jessie Mueller came out to give a poignant rendition.
The six children of Mary brought on Anika Larsen to sing “Wind Beneath My Wings”.
Caroline Rhea did the auctions to raise money…Two people paid $1000 each to be on Seth’s Radio show for Sirius Radio. Two tickets to Hamilton and backstage after the show went of $4500. Barney’s donated a leather bag that went for $2000 twice. Jonathan Groff doing a voice message on your phone went for $700.
Next was Capethia Jenkins who stops the show.
Evelyn and Keith introduced Charlene Tilton who told her own story of her childhood and not having adopted parents. She identifies with the song “I Have Confidence” from Sound of Music, which the delightful Sierra Boggess sang.
Daniel and his mom brought out Melissa Gilbert who spoke of her birth parents doing the right thing and putting her up for adoption and the fact that being adopted worked out for her. She identifies with the song “Pure Imagination”, sung by Jonathan Groff who pulled her back into the middle of the stage, so he could really sing to her.
Janice Huff spoke about Wednesday’s Child organization she does on air pieces for them on Channel 4.
Regina Calcaterra who has written books about the adoption system and how it related to her own life sang “The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow” to her siblings. They surprised her with Andrea McArdle coming on to sing the song and then all the cast came out to finish it up!!