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Mind2Mind hosts children’s talent show

(Left to right) Hemi Hanna, Jameir McGhee, Santanna Chanthavong, Samantha Anderson and Shay Nadeau performed a skit in last year’s Mind2Mind talent show. (Submitted photo)1 / 2
Eriven Pegues, left, and Monica Murray work on their paintings for the Mind2Mind talent show silent auction. (Photo by Teri Cadeau)2 / 2

For four days a week Eriven Pegues, 11, gets to hang out with her “best friend” Monica Murray, 10, after school. But if the girls weren’t in the East Hillside Patch Mind2Mind program, Pegues and Monica may have never met. Pegues goes to school at Congdon Elementary while her best friend attends Meyers-Wilkins Elementary.

East Hillside Patch is a non-profit, grassroots, neighborhood-based community initiative started in 1997 in Duluth. Mind2Mind serves youth between the ages of 6-14 who are living in the East Hillside and Endion neighborhoods. Mind2Mind’s mission is to provide safe and quality youth development opportunities focused on academic achievement, social and life skills, health and wellness, and advocacy for the youth and their families.

Paid staff, like program director Nahom Abegaze, and college volunteers provide the children with positive role models and assist them with their homework.

“We encourage them to do their homework and help them with the tougher questions. You can tell this is the gang right here that may not always want to do it,” Abegaze said, gesturing to a group of four boys playing with a football.

About 20 children are enrolled in the program every semester. Abegaze says they like to keep it a small group.

“It’s really important that we get to have one-on-one time with the kids. We like to check in with each one of them,” Abegaze said. “Plus we can’t have too big of a group on field trip day.”

The children go on field trips every Thursday and play games like tag and soccer with local college athletes involved in the Men as Peacemakers “Champions Building Champions” program every Tuesday.

Next week, on April 11, the children get the chance to perform in the Mind2Mind talent show at Teatro Zuccone. The talent show is held every year to encourage the students to express themselves.

“We’re doing the cup song,” Pegues said.

“The Cup Song” is a clapping cup game played to the tune of “When I’m Gone” by Lulu and the Lampshades, made famous by a YouTube video and the film “Pitch Perfect.” Pegues and her best friend will perform it along with a dance they made up.

Twelve-year-old Aundrey Tran will be performing a “mystery” song on the piano. Tran wasn’t sure which song it would be, but said, “I think it’s by Ozzy Osbourne.”

“We had two rounds of auditions for the kids who wanted to do it. Some of them simply weren’t interested. We do our best to encourage participation, but we won’t force them to be in it,” Abegaze said.

To encourage children who are more timid about performing alone, Abegaze plans to do a music video to the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams with the group so everyone can be included.

“There’s always something we can all do together,” Abegaze said.

The children also got the opportunity to create some pieces of artwork to be included in the silent auction occurring before the talent show. All proceeds from the auction and show will go back into the program to pay for things field trips, gas for the van, and other supplies.

Tami LaPole Edmunds, owner and head designer of Art in the Alley, spent time helping the children with their paintings on March 31.

“It’s great to work with the kids and see them creating their own works of art,” LaPole Edmunds said.

The event will include a variety of local other Duluth talents, including acoustic sets and solos. The silent auction will also showcase unique, handcrafted local art, along with services and products from local businesses.

To purchase tickets in advance, visit East Hillside Patch on Facebook or call 218-728-4287 Tickets are also available at Teatro Zuccone on the evening of the show.

If you go:

What: Mind2Mind Talent Show and Silent Auction Fundraiser

Where: Teatro Zuccone, 222 E. Superior St.

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday April 11

Cost: $10 adults, $5 children 9 years old or under

Teri Cadeau

Teri Cadeau is a reporter for the Budgeteer.

(218) 720-4176