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Local Leaders Perform Stand Up Comedy And Raise Cash for Kids
Back row, left to right: Valerie Walker, Samantha Oughtred, Christopher Jean Soucy, Kerri Goodrich. Front row left to right: Paul Meyer, Sophie Mendez, Cecilia Mendez and Ahmad Minor. - photo by Anne Robinson

Tickets may be purchased at Ticket holders will receive sponsor decorated boxes, delivered by grown adults in fairy costumes, which will include two mini liquor bottles, popcorn, everybody's favorite theater candy, and of course the signature Stand Up for Kids Groucho Marx glasses.

Savannah, get ready for an evening of laughter and good fun as Performance Initiatives is back with its second year of the "Stand Up for Kids" comedy competition and fundraiser.

Local celebrities, Marianne Ganem Poppell, Bret Bell, Wade Herring, Christopher Soucy, Paul Meyer and Samantha Oughtred, will put on their comedian caps as they perform stand-up routines and skits to raise funds for at-risk youth in our communities. The event is set for Nov. 7, from 7-9:30 p.m., to help the nonprofit in their efforts to raise funds in support of its program’s mission.

PI’s mission is to inspire and implement principles in programs that will enrich the lives of others physically, psychologically and spiritually.

Tickets to the event are $40 per person and the proceeds are cycled into the organization as a part of the fundraiser earnings.

This year’s emcee is Paul Meyer of Meyer & Sayers, LLP. Meyer has been personally involved with Performance Initiatives and their mission for years.

“I started off as a mentor of the kids about six or seven years ago,” Meyer said. “This just meant that I trained with them, got to know them, and learned their names which led to me helping on homework, and then just genuinely being around. Currently, I’m serving as the board chair.”

Meyer & Sayer’s, LLP also is a sponsor of this year’s community event.

“I watch young people, who don’t think they have hope, exceed and excel and come back and build into the younger kids, Meyer said. “When one person has a change of heart and makes friends with somebody else, it creates a healthy relationship, and it’s just a snowball effect down the road. That’s why I love this place”

Samantha Oughtred of SAM+PR, Strategic Advertising Marketing and Public Relations will perform in the competition with her 7-year-old daughter, who may be funnier than she is!

Oughtred is no stranger to raising funds for good-cause community events. Oughtred has a history of raising funds with Savannah Chatham CASA, Solomon Family Solutions (as Director in Cleveland, TN), CASA of Bradley County (as AmeriCorps VISTA then Director of Youth Advocacy), and in April 2021, she will participate as a dancer in Dancing with Savannah Stars to benefit Savannah Chatham CASA.

“Traditionally, pre-COVID, I would do public speaking events at churches and civic groups to raise awareness of the organization and ask for donations on its behalf,” Oughtred said. “Now, I focus efforts on the promotion of events through social media and email marketing.”

“I admire Kerri, the owner and operator of the nonprofit, and how she used her own personal mission to help these children and use her own skills to really give them focus and keep them on track,” Oughtred said. “My daughter and I began raising money for Stand Up for Kids in February of 2020. The event was originally scheduled for May 16. Due to COVID-19, fundraising was placed on hold. After the date of the virtual event was announced, we began fundraising again. Currently, we have raised $1,320 toward our goal of $5,000.”

Contrary to what some may believe, due to some of the youth being U.S. World Team athletes, Performance Initiatives is not government funded. Therefore, the Stand Up for Kids comedy event is held in good faith to support the future of the involved youth.

“The goal of PI is not to win gold medals,” Sayer said. “It’s to pour hope into people and to build young men and women of integrity by working with their minds, their spirits, and their bodies. That’s why we have tutoring, we run a kid’s café, and we have athletic programs.”