Thursday, November 15 , 2018, 3:47 am | Fair 43º


AHA! Teens to ‘Sing It Out’ at SOhO

A dozen courageous teens will take the stage at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club, 1221 State St. in Santa Barbara, at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 19 for a festive and spirited event called Sing It Out, sponsored by AHA!, the Academy for Healing Arts for Teens.

Sing It Out teaches character, conscience and social-emotional intelligence through music to these teens, many of whom are working to overcome bullying or other emotional issues in their lives.

Sing It Out is an after-school group held each spring. In once-weekly meetings, a dozen nonmusician teens gather to be coached and mentored by music professionals and AHA! facilitators to master a rock n’ roll cover song. They overcome fear and self-doubt and learn to accept, bond with and deeply support others — some of whom they might not have given the time of day outside of AHA!

At this galvanizing event, the teens take the stage one at a time, backed by local musician Tina Schlieske and her band. For all, their bravery in singing their hearts open in front of a crowd of hundreds of family and friends is awe-inspiring to witness.

Last year, special guest Mayor Helene Schneider also took the stage in support of AHA!.

“Each and every one of you were amazing last night,” the mayor wrote after last year’s event. “Thank you for allowing me to share the stage with you and rehearse with you. ... I am so impressed at how you all grew into your songs and overcame fear and apprehensiveness. After last night, know that you can accomplish anything you set your mind and heart to. You make this mayor proud.”

AHA! has been working to prevent bullying and violence and to promote character, conscience, leadership and social-emotional intelligence since 1999 through in-school, after-school and summer programs. It will serve 2,000 teens in 2012-13, and Sing It Out is its biggest event of the year. It supports its efforts to serve as many teens as possible through their primarily by-donation programming.

Nationwide, 20 percent of students in grades 9 through 12 experience bullying. Less than half report it when it occurs. For them, school isn’t a safe place. Students with disabilities are two to three times more likely to be bullied than their nondisabled peers. Disciplinary measures used to quash bullying and student-on-student violence have proven less than effective. Many teens feel marginalized, afraid, confused and alone. AHA!’s active, discussion-based mentorship approach is a key preventive piece in the big picture of violence prevention.

Sing It Out is an inspiring evening of entertainment, plus an opportunity to support AHA!’s programs. Tickets are $10, payable before the event through AHA!’s website by clicking here or at the door. This year’s event will feature a raffle ($10/ticket or six for $50) and a special VIP reception for sponsors and other VIP ticketholders.

Sponsors include the Roddick Foundation, Union Bank, the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation, the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Independent, Lisa and George Hagerman, Laura and Geof Wyatt, Diane and Tim Brown, Susan and Bobby Shand, Alecia Mayrock, Beth and Steve Green, Jill and Scott Forbes, Jamie and Steve Gumins, Sharon Sumrall Landscapes, Yoga Soup, the Simms/Mann Family Foundation, Be Green Packaging, Linda and Ron Blitzer, Gay and Tony Browne, Cheryl Doty and John Gerngross, Debra Galin/Sabrina Kranz and Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Nancy and Kevin O’Connor, Allen and Associates, Marilyn Ezzes, Don Schaefer, Thompson Naylor Architects, and Cyndi and Robert Richman.

For more information, including sponsorship opportunities, VIP opportunities, and more on AHA! and its programs, click here or contact development director Molly Green at 805.455.8314 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

— Melissa Lynn Block represents AHA!, the Academy for Healing Arts for Teens.

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