Life Amplified – Making a Difference in The Tampa Community
Somewhere between my final interview question as a freelance reporter for Patch and exiting the independent movie theatre on North Dale Mabry Highway in October 2012, a movement was born. Only I didn’t know it at the time. I had simply asked why Tampa Pitcher Show didn’t present spoken word poetry and then eagerly volunteered to host a poetry showcase three months later.
I probably should have realized that despite Tampa Pitcher Show donating the use of their venue, no experience combined with a zero budget for advertising for an all-volunteer event would be a painfully slow registration process. I probably should have given up.
I choose the name Life Amplified because spoken words poets amplify telling a story, whatever topic they might present. I created a logo and a website filled with information and a registration page.
I decided to donate my portion of the ticket sales directly to a small local Tampa Bay nonprofit and be a voice for their platform.
The charity I selected was Redefining Refuge fighting against human trafficking. Natasha Nascimento was in the process of opening a home for rescued trafficked women and children and was the perfect recipient for the show’s proceeds.
In early December, through the use of the website, Facebook, other social media and free press release sites, the event began to build momentum and other performers -not just spoken word poets- asked to perform.
The inaugural show opened on January 19, 2013 with 2 singers, 9 poets, a comedian/impressionist Eddie Webber and a mind-reader Justin Myer.
At the end of show, I was asked by an audience member, “so when’s the next one?”
I hadn’t even considered the possibility.
I’ve since opened the showcase to all variety acts and I no longer have to wait months for performers. The next show filled in days and my last two shows filled in hours.
I think what amazed me most through this journey was how eager people in my community were to help me help the selected local charity. Though the ages and experience levels of the talent range from beginner to professional, the performers all come together for the same reason – to educate about an important platform and to help a worthwhile cause.
Over the past year, three photographers Mick McNabb, Kyle Mould and James Geiger volunteered to capture the event. BridesnBlooms became our official florist to create beautiful arrangements for each showcase. Digital Printing Solutions, Carrollwood Copy Center, MinuteMan Press and Bay City Signs and Printing did not hesitate to print the program.
And for partners for our silent raffle for K9’s for Veterans in September, all I had to do was reach out into the community and ask for a donation. I was never told no.
My upcoming showcase Life Amplified KIDZHELPINGKIDZ on May 3, 2014 is unique that it will feature only children - a child emcee and performers, 6 to 17 years old.
Life Amplified KIDZHELPINGKIDZ will benefit the Tampa chapter of Bricks for the Brave (formerly Legos for Leukemia) founded two years ago by (then 9 year) Logan Agnew to honor his friends fighting childhood cancer. Agnew collects gift cards for purchasing Legos as well as new boxes of Legos throughout the year for distribution to St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital during the holidays.
The charity event also has a new venue. I was invited to host Life Amplified KIDZHELPINGKIDZ at the award-winning Carrollwood Players Theatre, 4333 Gunn Highway, which will be a Lego-collection site through May 3. Next door, the comic book shop Heroes Haven will collect new boxes of Legos on May 3, during their annual “Comic Book Day” celebration at the plaza. The coffee shop Cool Mo’s Coffee donated $100 and will also be a collection site through May 3.
Life Amplified KIDZHELPINGKIDZ will be hosted by Logan, and 8 and a half year old comedian Nicole Lauren will headline. Nicole has been doing comedy in Florida and New York for over 3 years.
During this family-friendly showcase, 13 year old Elizabeth Covais, a motivational speaker at local and national cancer organizations, will share her unique perspective on being the older sibling of a Leukemia survivor.
Registration has just opened for this children’s variety showcase and talent will be accepted through April 14 (or when the lineup fills, whichever comes first). No experience is required, just the willingness to volunteer and have fun for a great cause.
Tickets are wallet-friendly at $8 advance online and $10 at the door; however, a donation of new Legos will get the guest in at the discounted online price. All proceeds received from ticket sales and a raffle will benefit Bricks for the Brave.
I am completely humbled by the amount of people who really care and want to be involved in these special events. I hate when I hear someone making the excuse, but I’m just one person, what can I do.
It only takes one person to make a difference and make an impact. I’ve discovered during this process, in the time it takes to make an excuse, you could be starting a movement.
For more information of to purchase tickets please visit www.LifeAmplifiedShowcase.com or call (813) 416-2068.