Mar 06, 2017 12:30 pm
More than 2,500 teen leaders from around the country convened in Chicago last week for Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s 50th annual Keystone Conference presented by Aaron’s, Inc., a leading omnichannel provider of lease-purchase solutions, and its divisions Aaron’s and Progressive Leasing.
Teens participated in a session on community policing featuring Grammy and Oscar winner Common, learning how to engage in conversations that help bridge relationships between teens and law enforcement. The conference kicked-off earlier in the week with a newly renovated teen center at the Miguel A. Barreto Union League Boys & Girls Club in Chicago thanks to national partner Aaron’s.
The theme of this year’s conference is “Activate Your Legacy,” showing teens how they can develop and enhance leadership skills enabling participants to be leaders and ambassadors in their Clubs and communities. The first Keystone conference, in 1967, also took place in Chicago.
“Each day, Boys & Girls Clubs around the country inspire and empower teens to elevate their voice and activate their legacy to build a great future,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “Thanks to the support of partners like Aaron’s, thousands of teens will realize opportunities to lead and make a difference in their Clubs and communities through the Keystone Club. The 50th anniversary of the Keystone Conference is a celebration of our incredible teens and the legacy of millions of Club alumni who have found their voice through their Boys & Girls Club.”
The Miguel A. Barreto remodel was the 18th renovation made possible through a partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Aaron’s. With input from the teen members, Aaron’s associates and Club officials worked Monday painting, decorating and furnishing a study, games and lounge area the Club. On Wednesday, local Aaron’s associates and Club officials unveiled the new space, which is now equipped with new technology, sectionals, tables and chairs, sound systems and fresh coats of paint.
“For five decades, Keystone, Boys & Girls Club of America’s premier teen leadership program has transformed the lives of youth across our country, and Aaron’s is honored to help make a difference in these teens’ lives,” said John Robinson, CEO of Aaron’s, Inc. “The 50th Annual Keystone Conference is a shining example of how young people can learn to be leaders and affect social change even at their young age. Aaron’s is grateful to help America’s teens realize their potential by investing in this instrumental program.”
In 2015, the Aaron’s Foundation, Inc. announced a three-year, $5 million national partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Keystone Program, helping teens develop their character and leadership skills in hopes of helping them reach their potential and creating positive change in the community. Keystone Club teen centers provide members ages 14-18 an environment to plan and participate in activities that focus on community service, academic success, career preparation and teen outreach.
Aaron’s partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Keystone Program inspires teens to “Own It” by taking ownership of their choices to build the lives they deserve. The Aaron’s and Keystone Club “Own Your Future” campaign supports three principles:
• Own Your Path: No matter where you come from, the future is yours to decide.
• Own Your Decisions: Making good choices opens more doors for your future.
• Own Your Community: Use your talents to make an impact in your community.
Mar 06, 2017 11:00 am
On Friday, March 3, some of the biggest names in entertainment came together to support the fifth annual One Night for One Drop imagined by Cirque du Soleil, raising funds and awareness to benefit critical water issues worldwide.
Held inside the Zumanity Theatre at New York-New York Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, the star-studded event featured performances by multi-platinum selling vocal group The Tenors and Emmy Award-winning actor William Shatner, with additional performances by America’s Got Talent (AGT) winner Grace VanderWaal, GRAMMY-nominated rapper Redfoo from the Party Rock Crew, AGT finalist Malevo and more.
Presented by MGM Resorts International and Zappos.com, the electrifying, one-night-only performance captivated the sold-out audience with some of the world’s most daring circus acts, elevated by the unique talents of this year’s guest performers.
Highlights from the show included The Tenors’ explosive renditions of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Who Wants to Live Forever” by the iconic rock band Queen, an extraordinary performance of “Light the Sky” by Grace VanderWaal and an unforgettable appearance by William Shatner and Redfoo together in the finale. Malevo also brought the heat with their sizzling Malambo choreography, while superstar aerialists Duo Sky Angels thrilled guests with their stunning aerial routine. Following the performance, guests were invited to “party rock” poolside, also enjoying a surprise performance by one of the world’s most beloved boy bands, the Backstreet Boys, who performed iconic hits including “Everybody,” “Larger Than Life” and “I Want It That Way.” Electronic music heavyweights SULTAN + SHEPARD then took the stage, ending the event with an exhilarating two-hour set featuring back-to-back hits.
Other notable names in attendance included Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté; beloved TV personality and judge on So You Think You Can Dance Nigel Lythgoe; world-famous actress Gina Gershon; Emmy Award-winning choreographer, dancer and actress Anita Mann; award-winning country music star Marie Osmond; GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb; world-famous magician Penn Jillette from Penn & Teller; electronic music star Ned Shepard from Canadian duo SULTAN + SHEPARD; celebrity chef Mali Hunter; president and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Daniel Lamarre; senior vice president, resident shows division at Cirque du Soleil, Jerry Nadal; renowned singer Scott Hoying from Pentatonix; American director, producer and cinematographer famous for his work with nature, Louie Schwartzberg; American animator and director of The Simpsons David Silverman; Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and her husband, Oscar Goodman; 2011 “Playmate of the Year” and Las Vegas Pin-Up star Claire Sinclair; burlesque performer Mosh; Las Vegas headliners Carrot Top and Blue Man Group; cast members from Las Vegas Strip shows ABSINTHE, Chippendales, FANTASY at Luxor and Tenors of Rock; choreographer and designer Kristin McQuaid; One Night for One Drop 2017 creative team including co-writers and directors Nicky and Laetitia Dewhurst, One Night for One Drop 2017 performers and dancers from the Nevada Ballet Theatre.
All proceeds from the event will benefit safe water access and conservation programs across the globe. For more information about One Drop’s global water initiatives including One Night for One Drop, please visit www.onedrop.org.
Mar 06, 2017 09:30 am
There’s some great news to report in the fight against malaria – between 2000 and 2015, the rate of people dying of malaria has dropped by 62% worldwide. More people are surviving the disease than ever before.
Comic Relief malaria funding has helped over 11 million people in Africa and since Comic Relief began, they’ve distributed over 3,900,000 insecticide-treated nets to protect people from malaria.
In 2015, Comic Relief and GSK announced a five-year partnership to fight malaria and strengthen health systems in some of the countries worst affected by the disease. The £22 million fund will provide targeted grants over five years to organisations on the frontline in four malaria-endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the greater Mekong sub region. The partnership is now in its second year and Comic Relief has started to make grants to organisations working directly with communities affected by malaria. These projects will help ensure people can access malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment at the right time.
TV presenter Davina McCall and YouTube beauty vlogger Fleur de Force recently travelled to Tanzania to investigate the impact malaria has on people’s lives and find out how the Comic Relief and GSK partnership will help more people fighting malaria on the frontline.
Comic Relief Honorary Trustee, Davina McCall, said: “I’ve been visiting Africa for years now with Comic Relief and I know things are getting better. Malaria deaths have more than halved in the past 15 years which tells us this really is a battle that can be won. But we have a long way to go – a child still dies every two minutes from this preventable disease. This is completely unacceptable.”
Comic Relief has released a new film featuring Davina and Fleur to highlight the devastating reality facing millions still living with the daily threat of malaria. To see the film and find out more about malaria funding, click here.
Money raised this Red Nose Day, back on Friday 24th March, will help Comic Relief continue working with projects and people who are fighting malaria on the frontline.
Mar 06, 2017 08:00 am
Big Machine Label Group, General Mills and Feeding America have again joined together for the Outnumber Hunger Campaign, a nationwide effort aimed at fighting hunger in local communities across America.
This year’s program features country music’s most-played artist of 2016, multi-ACM nominee, Thomas Rhett, as the campaign’s spokesperson.
Since its launch in 2011, Outnumber Hunger has helped secure more than 45 million meals for local families served by the Feeding America nationwide network of member food banks. This year, Thomas Rhett will be featured on the front of specially-marked packages of nearly 60 General Mills brands, including Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Nature Valley and Totino’s. Beginning March 1, individuals can purchase specially-marked products, enter the code found on the packaging along with their zip code at Outnumberhunger.com to help Feeding America secure five meals on behalf of their local member food bank.
“For more than 30 years, General Mills has partnered with Feeding America to raise awareness for hunger. It’s through programs like Outnumber Hunger, that we get the opportunity to create unique ways to get our shoppers involved with the cause so that we can band together to help our local communities,” said Kristin Merchant, integrated shopper marketing senior planner at General Mills. “As food insecurity continues to be an ongoing issue across the United States, we’re proud to do our part as a company, and have outstanding partners like Big Machine Label Group, to put a spotlight on the cause so we can help to outnumber hunger.”
“With more than 45 million meals secured as a part of the Outnumber Hunger program, we wanted to find a way in 2017 to add another element to continue to expand this important program to help fight hunger,” said Big Machine Label Group President Scott Borchetta. “We are thrilled to partner with General Mills and Feeding America once again and to add another dimension—with a Pandora Plus trial and exclusive Big Machine Label Group artist content — for fans and program participants. Using music to affect positive change is a cornerstone at Big Machine Label Group.”
A long-time advocate for fighting hunger, CMA, ACM, Billboard Music and CMT Award-Winner Thomas Rhett has participated in the Outnumber Hunger campaign every year since its inception. Additionally, the multi-Platinum singer/songwriter has a history of holding numerous fan events, including his official Fan Club parties, to benefit Feeding America.
“It’s great to have been part of the Outnumber Hunger Program since it started six years ago,” said Thomas Rhett. “Being able to see the program’s impact firsthand is a really amazing perspective to have, so I’m excited to be part of sharing their story and helping offer fans a way to help give back to their local communities.”
This year, fans can also access special behind-the-scenes artist content featuring spokesperson Thomas Rhett and participating Big Machine Label Group artists, including iconic superstar Reba McEntire, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame members Cheap Trick, 2016 American Idol winner Trent Harmon, newly minted chart-topper Brett Young, Grammy Award-winning vocalist Jennifer Nettles and many more, at OutnumberHunger.com/Backstage. For the first time in the program’s history, streaming service Pandora will also be a part of the Outnumber Hunger campaign, with an exclusive playlist curated by Big Machine Label Group featuring Thomas Rhett and a 30-day Pandora-Plus subscription trial.
Outnumber Hunger has included numerous components and support from platinum-selling BMLG artists including Rascal Flatts, Florida Georgia Line, Reba McEntire, Brantley Gilbert, Justin Moore, Eli Young Band and The Voice winners Cassadee Pope and Danielle Bradbery, who have performed during first-rate charity concerts and made visits to local food banks over the program’s six-year history. This long-standing partnership has helped secure more than 45 million meals for Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, and has helped to bring national awareness of the 1 in 8 Americans who struggle with food insecurity.
“With more than 42 million people struggling with hunger, programs like Outnumber Hunger help to inform and engage the public,” said Diana Aviv, CEO of Feeding America. “For the last six years, General Mills and Big Machine Label Group have worked with Feeding America to shine a light on hunger, an issue that exists in every county in America. We are grateful for their support and excited to be a part of Outnumber Hunger again this year.”