Kids Rock Cancer, CHADS fundraiser and Women’s Division event

In April, Women’s Philanthropy of Jewish Federation hosted a hands-on service project for JF&CS in St. Louis and Economic Empowerment for Women in Israel.

By Lois Caplan

THE KIDS ROCK CANCER SPRING BENEFIT will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 21 at the Sheldon Concert Hall in Grand Center, with proceeds going to this innovative music therapy program begun by Maryville University. The “All You Need Is Love” concert will feature Flaming Pie, a local British Invasion cover band as well as other musical guests, including members of the St. Louis Symphony. Another highlight will be performances of original music by children who have taken part in the Kids Rock Cancer program, which helps kids with cancer compose and perform songs as a way of dealing with their illness. 

Since its inception in 2009, the program — offered free of charge to the children and their families — has helped more than 5,000 youngsters at local cancer treatment and support centers find a vehicle for self-expression and a distraction from the physical and emotional pain of being sick. VIP tickets at $125, which include a pre-and post-performance reception, are available at KidsRockCancer.org. General admission tickets are $50 and may be purchased at 314-534-1111 or metrotix.com. 

MICHAEL WORTH, a promising teenager in the St. Louis Jewish community, took his own life in September 2014, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. The Light ran an extensive story in March about Michael and his fight with depression and anxiety (http://bit.ly/Michael-Worth), in which readers were also introduced to CHADS (Communities Healing Adolescent Depression and Suicide) Coalition. This nonprofit mental health group provides extensive programs and services for students in the greater St. Louis area about depression, suicide prevention, bullying, self-harm and peer pressure. 

On Friday, May 29, CHADS Rock n’ Stroll will take place at the Chesterfield Amphitheatre to raise money for this vital organization, which last year assisted 151 area families through counseling, held 99 support group sessions and has bullying prevention programs in 25 schools. Participants can enjoy dinner from a variety of St. Louis food trucks starting at 6 p.m., take a stroll through Chesterfield Central Park with CHADS’ Walk for Hope at 7 p.m., then rock out to a concert by Ticket to the Beatles. A fireworks display will cap the evening. The cost per person is $25 and $50 for a family living in the same household; children under 5 are free. For more information, go to chadscoalition.org or call 314-675-0092.

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“MUSIC IN YOUR KEY,” the 26th annual production of Broadway Fantasies, opens at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 30 at John F. Kennedy High School, 500 Woods Mill Road in Chesterfield. The show features well-known Broadway selections and tunes by talented performers who entertain for the love of music and charity. All profits from this year’s performance will benefit the St. Louis County Older Resident Programs (CORP), which provides services and programs to support independence and quality of life for older adults. Since it was established in 1992 as a nonprofit corporation, Broadway Fantasies has raised more than $100,000 for local charities. In addition to opening night, performances take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 31 and June 7 and at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 6. You can purchase tickets at $17 each by calling 314-615-4041 or online at [email protected]

ONE OF THE NICEST JEWISH FEDERATION annual events is the “shower our community” gathering for those in need, typically held in April and produced by Women’s Philanthropy. Julie Gibbs, director of Women’s Philanthropy, told me the group recently collected 16 bins for seven families, filled with kitchen tools, clothes, toiletries and other household and personal items. She also said the group collected about $800 in gift cards and cash and made about 150 bracelets for women in Israel who completed the Economic Empowerment for Women program. EEW brings about social change and economic independence for women in Israel by helping them to develop small businesses. What Julie did not tell me was how much the women in attendance, including myself, enjoyed the “shower,” and how true it reflects the organization’s logo “connecting community, inspiring social good.” Well done, ladies.

TWENTY YEARS AGO, my friend Henrietta Freedman asked me to write a column about a newly established continuing education program at Washington University geared to people in their retirement years. “Imagine,” some of my friends said, “going to Washington University when I just barely managed to graduate from Clayton High School.” But as it turned out, you didn’t need a degree to attend this program, just an interest in learning as a senior (and I don’t mean college senior). Furthermore, the university’s dental school had just closed its doors and its remarkable dean, Richard Deimer, would be available to help guide and run the program. Needless to say, the Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI), as it was named, has been growing each year since its inception. A 20th-anniversary luncheon to celebrate the success and growth of LLI planned for later this month is sold-out, but I strongly suggest you check out the classes LLI has to offer at lli.wustl.edu or call Katie Compton, who now heads the program, at 314-935-4237 for more information.