'Tinseltown' fundraiser to help Taylor County youth

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By The Staff

The Center for Rural Development in Somerset has touched the lives of Taylor County students through its youth and arts education outreach programs.

Twenty-two Taylor County students have graduated from Rogers Scholars, a youth leadership program for rising high school juniors, since the program was launched in 1998. Another local teen attended the Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute in 2007.

The Center also hosted a performance by the Lexington Children's Theatre on April 10 at Taylor County Elementary School.

Community supporters in Taylor County can help support the youth of Southern and Eastern Kentucky and enjoy a red carpet evening of fine dining and dancing at the premiere of The Center for Rural Development's annual fundraising gala, "Tinseltown," on Friday, April 25 at 7 p.m. in Somerset.

Proceeds from "Tinseltown" will support The Center's three youth programs - Rogers Scholars, Rogers Explorers and the Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute - and help bring educational arts and cultural opportunities to students in Taylor County and throughout the 42-county service area.

"The youth of our region is by far our greatest asset. Through our youth development programs, we strive to create an environment that encourages these future leaders to reach their life goals while remaining in their home region of Southern and Eastern Kentucky," said Pat Bradley, associate vice president of arts, culture and entertainment at The Center.

In the tradition of a Hollywood movie premiere or opening night at The Academy Awards, the Center is rolling out the red carpet for the premiere of "Tinseltown" with all of the associated glitz and glamour. The gala will include a ceremonial red carpet opening.

Walking the red carpet on premiere night will be contributors, supporters and invited guests. Supporters who lift up the programs and services in the region will be the "stars" of this event and receive a "Tinseltown" welcome when they arrive at The Center.

"Tinseltown" will feature an evening of fine dining and dancing in a Hollywood-themed setting. The Tom Daugherty Orchestra, a show and dance orchestra, will provide the music. The popular group performs a wide variety of music, ranging from the original "Big Band" arrangements of the Swing Era, to the "Rock and Roll" of the 1950s, to contemporary music.

Guests can bid on a selection of specialty items and sports-related prizes at a silent auction while at the fundraising gala. One of the top prizes is four invitations to University of Kentucky basketball coach Billy Gillispie's Call In Show at Malone's Banquets during the 2008-2009 season. Another lucky winner will walk away with four tickets plus hospitality in the Big Blue Zone at the UK-Arkansas football game on Oct. 18. Other prizes include hand-crafted pottery, watercolor print, golf passes to Dale Hollow State Resort Park, gift certificates for local and area businesses and more.

"The evening will be a fun and exciting way to help support programming at The Center that focuses on providing outstanding growth and development opportunities for our youth," Bradley said.

The Center has touched the lives of thousands of students in Southern and Eastern Kentucky through its youth and arts education outreach programs. U.S. Congressman Harold "Hal" Rogers, who founded The Center in 1996 to be a state and national model, is committed to providing a better quality of life for the more than 900,000 residents in the 42-county region.

More than 600 students have received leadership training by attending one of the three youth development programs in the last nine years. Graduates are encouraged to find their futures in their home communities and often return after completing the programs to serve as mentors to other youth participants.

"Tinseltown" is sponsored by Windstream Communications, Citizens National Bank, Outdoor Venture Corp., Clay Parker Davis, Hensley, Elam and Associates, Wal-Mart and Leo Miller and Associates. Event supporters include Kingsford, Community Trust Bank, BB & T and Alton Blakley Ford. Additional sponsorship opportunities are still available.

Tickets are $50 per person and may be purchased at The Center or by contacting The Center Box Office at (606) 677-6000.

The Center, located at 2292 South U.S. 27 (traffic light No. 15) in Somerset, provides economic and community development programs to residents in Southern and Eastern Kentucky and is home to several statewide and national technology-based programs.

For more information, visit www.centertech.com/tinseltown. Program descriptions of The Center's youth programs are available by visiting www.centertech.com.