No One Alone, a local domestic violence shelter, held its first annual North Georgia’s Got Talent event this past weekend with contestants from all over the state participating to raise funds for the shelter that serves Dawson and Lumpkin counties.
Because it costs over $95 to run the shelter each day, fundraising is a key element for NOA, which last year provided emergency shelter and support services to over 1,100 people, in addition to advocates responding to over 3,759 crisis calls.
The talent show brought in funds to help domestic violence victims through audition and entry fees, ticket sales and sponsorships.
Jean Baker, NOA's community outreach and fundraising coordinator who came up with the idea of the talent show, said that as of press time the amount raised had not been totaled yet, but that the show was definitely successful.
“We got more people there and more money than we hoped for, we met and surpassed our goals,” Baker said. “We want it to be the first of many.”
Auditions were held throughout the year in both Dawson and Lumpkin counties, with each participant paying a $25 audition fee. The finale event was held Oct. 14 at the Performing Arts Center.
Acts ranged from singing to dancing to comedy
with all ages performing.
Throughout the show, attendees could pay $1 per vote for People’s Choice, which was awarded to first, second and third place winners. Judges also scored performers and awarded first, second and third place judges’ picks.
People’s Choice first place went to Stepfanie Stewart, a junior at the University of North Georgia and dancer; People’s Choice second place went to Marisa Allen, Dahlonega resident and singer; and third place People’s Choice went to Naomi Roberts, 12-year-old White County Middle School 7th grader and singer.
The judges awarded first place to Isabelle Martinez-Amos or “Belle Gray,” a student of Middle Tennessee State College and singer and guitar player; second place to Nealy Webster, 11-year-old Cleveland resident and singer; and third place to Kennedy Hoard, 11-year-old Dawson County Middle School 6th grader and singer.
Winners were awarded a total of over $1,000 in cash.
They will perform at the Gold Rush festival in Dahlonega this weekend, as well as at the Mountain Moonshine Festival and NOA’s Chilli Cook-Off on Nov. 11 at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Dahlonega.
NOA Executive Director Cara Ledford said that
as October is domestic violence awareness month, the talent show not only
served as a fundraiser but as a way to inform the community that there are free
services available to those in need as well as to highlight the issue of
domestic violence in Dawson County.
Since the shelter opened in 1992, NOA has assisted over 17,000 abused victims.
“The numbers speak for themselves; the need
for NOA services is great and continues to grow each year,” Ledford said. “Our
hope is to bring awareness to put a stop to family violence and protect the
community from its devastating effects. We strive to instill an attitude
throughout our community that violence is not accepted.”