"We had 83 acts come out and audition and we narrowed it down to having just 30," said Mary Clayton Gilbert, director and producer of "Every Child's a Star." "So we really were able to get some of the best and brightest in Cartersville, which is really exciting. I feel like we're going to have a great show.
"We have ... many different kinds of performances. We have one act that's really creative this year. It's a jump roper and a hula hooper. We have some really great group acts, some duets, trios and also some bands. We had a big number of bands come out this year. We have a few dancers involved as well. So I really think that we are going to have a great show."
The talent show will begin at 7 p.m. at the Woodland High Performing Arts Center, 800 Old Alabama Road in Cartersville. During the contest, participants will compete in five categories -- primary school, elementary school, middle school, high school and group. Along with bragging rights, each category winner and an overall victor will receive a trophy for their accomplishments.
In the individual categories, the contestants will include: Primary -- Alexandra Peters, Logan Bennett, Jasmine Curtis, Madelyn Brooky, Lorelai Tomlinson and alternate Katie Hacker; Elementary -- Dakota Bishop, Candace Maggard, Halle Collins, Byers Murray, Hannah Rhodes and Maranda Thomas; Middle -- Isabela Aragon, Tundrishia Curtis, Clay Duke, Samantha Sims, Kaitlyn Hanks, Marissa Brooky and alternate Caitlyn Gallagher; and High -- Barry Arrington, Asia Murray, Kendall Craton, Ryan Brideau, Morgan Cornwell and alternate Kaitlynn Millsapps.
The group division will be comprised of Jonathan Jarett, Anna Jarett and Charity Jarett; Justin Beringause, Noelle Lashley, Tristian Chaffer, Hannah Everett and Simon Butterworth; Daniel Koutavas and Sebastian Ayars; Rachel Brideau and Jeremiah Robinson; Matthew Pryor, Clark Cumbee, Thomas Gilbert, Clayton Ries, Tyler Bucher, David Pye and Evan Nichols; Tucker Covey, Chad Cetti, Cameron Gibbs and Aaron Patrick; Aahlya Earwood and Janet Zazueta; Donna Queen and Ava Flemons; and alternates Kristyn DiGiovanni, David Seanor, Caleb Smith, Jacqueline Munson and Simon Butterworth.
In addition to showcasing young talent, "Every Child's a Star" also emphasizes community service, requiring each contestant to sell at least 10 tickets for $10 each.
"What's great about 'Every Child's a Star' is that it is kids helping kids," Gilbert said. "Advocates has made different opportunities to help raise money and 'Every Child's a Star' is different from those events because it is the kids in the community pitching in, helping out to help raise money.
"So that's what's really neat about it. And other talent shows, they are wonderful. They can help raise money for other events but, this one, it's for the Advocates that everyone has some sort of relation to. It's right here in our city. It's something that we can all help contribute to."
This year, the talent show is expected to raise about $8,500 for Advocates for Children, which serves area youth through its Flowering Branch Children's Shelter and providing services that assist in the awareness, prevention and treatment of child abuse. Since about 56 percent of Advocates' annual $1.6 million budget is raised by the local community, events like "Every Child's a Star" and the Spring Benefit, an offering that netted $62,000 in 2011, are integral to the nonprofit's success.
"We have to raise about half of our budget, which is about $800,000 locally," said Patty Eagar, executive director for Advocates for Children. "That's the amount that we don't have from grants, from government sources or competitive government grants.
"Last year we served 2,653 kids, which is an enormous number [and] people don't realize that we're serving so many kids. We serve 30 or so at Flowering Branch and all the rest through our other programs. So in order to not turn away a child who needs our help, we have to raise the rest of the money in order to keep running all these programs. And we have never turned away a child because [of a] lack of money and we don't intend to have to do that."
For more information about Advocates or its "Every Child's a Star" event call 770-387-1143 or visit www.AdvoChild.org. Tickets also can be purchased at the door on the night of the show.
With spring just around the corner, Advocates' staff also is busy organizing a host of fundraisers that will culminate with the nonprofit's largest fundraising project of the year, Duck Derby -- Peace, Love and Ducks! During the annual event on May 12, thousands of rubber ducks will race for prizes down the Etowah River at the Riverside Day Use Area in Cartersville.
On March 29 from 5 to 7 p.m., the public is invited to attend an informational meeting at West End Commons -- 650 Henderson Drive in Cartersville -- to learn more about serving as a duck adoption site.
The upcoming Duck Derby related events will include:
* Rockin' on the River Concert with Freeflight on May 11, 6 p.m., at the Riverside Day Use Area. Free to the general public, the event also will offer tables that seat eight concert-goers. To purchase a table for $100, contact Karen White at Karen@AdvoChild.org or 770-387-1143.
* The 5K Duck Dash and Fun Run starting at 8 a.m. on May 12 at Cartersville Primary School. Entrance fees are $25 prior to May 1 and then $30 afterward. To register, visit www.AdvoChild.org.
* Duck Derby -- Peace, Love and Ducks! on May 12 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Riverside Day Use Area. Starting March 30, individuals will be able to adopt a duck for $5 each via www.AdvoChild.org or at adoption sites across the community. For those wanting to purchase more than one duck, packages also will be available.