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A San Juan Capistrano-based nonprofit that offers after-school and summer programs in order to inspire the area’s youth and get them excited about learning will be holding a fundraiser event.
CREER Comunidad y Familia will be hosting a musical performance featuring two musicians, Terry Wollman and Melanie Taylor, on Thursday, Nov. 8 at San Juan Hills Golf Course.
Wollman has released seven albums over his career and has worked as a musician, composer and producer. He’s worked with, or directed, a list of artists that includes Dav Koz, Dionne Warwick, Melissa Manchester and Eartha Kitt.
Taylor has recently been performing as part of the Barry Manilow show in Las Vegas.
Tickets for the concert only are $40; a $90 ticket also includes dinner on San Juan Hills Golf Course’s pasta night, two drink tickets and an artist CD.
“They are really two elite LA performers who have been nice enough to say, ‘Hey, we’ll come down and perform,’ ” Jeffrey Singer, a board member for CREER, said. “Our activity is to engage our community so that everybody has a beautiful evening and helps a great cause – what I call a grassroots nonprofit.”
CREER, founded in 2004, serves more than 10,000 at-risk children, from kindergarten to 12th grade, for a year in South Orange County through educational and community programs.
The organization and its volunteers provide homework clubs, after-school tutoring and a summer program to help students gain learning skills while getting them excited about education and their futures. Proceeds from the event go toward benefiting those programs.
“This is kind of, in my opinion, one of the great things this community is doing,” Singer said. “We’re actually building a bridge between San Juan and Saddleback College for kids who never had college on their radar.”
Angeles Ceballos, executive director for the organization, shared a similar sentiment.
“Creer in Spanish means to believe, so what we’re doing here, is we’re actually showing the kids that they can have a future, showing them that they can believe and actually accomplish their goals if they only want to,” Ceballos said.
Ceballos said that the programs are not just meaningful for the kids who participate in them, but also for the volunteers who help make them happen.
She said volunteers for the organization come from a wide age range, from adolescents to retired members of the teaching community.
Ceballos said that some of the people discover their love of volunteering through helping students in CREER.
“We have kids helping us from junior high that are into the AVID program, for example, or they want to go into Breakthrough and they come in and say, ‘We want to help’ because they need the hours,” Ceballos said. “Well they start with ‘I need the hours’ and that turns into, ‘I want to do this; I love this.”
Ceballos said that teaching and helping the kids is “intoxicating.” She used the example of seeing a child in a math class who might not understand how to solve a problem but, after some helpful instruction, is able to figure it out.
“You can actually see the light that comes out of his eyes,” she said. “It’s amazing. It’s so inspiring.”