Saturday, May 24, 2014
Tony-award winning actor Courtney B. Vance will make a visit to the Garden City as the guest speaker for a local non-profit’s inaugural gala and dinner.
Created by Orangeburg physician Dr. Monnie Singleton some nine years ago, True Vine Health Services seeks to increase health literacy and improve the academic success of youth ages eight to 16, particularly those from underserved communities.
“Proceeds from the gala are going to help us to continue providing the programs and services that we offer to our participants and their families,” says Singleton. “Those individuals who support the gala and True Vine in general will see the difference that their support will make in the community. We cannot afford to lose any of our children.”
Singleton says the planning committee for the gala has been working hard to make the event inspiring, yet entertaining, beginning with the gala’s special guest. Courtney B. Vance, who is well known for his powerful presence in theatre and on the silver screen, will speak to the crowd.
Vance recently worked on the new Chris Keyser created ABC pilot “Warriors” as Dr. Hennessy Fiske, a world-class orthopedic surgeon at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He has recently been seen as FBI Special Agent Section Chief Sam Campbell in Jeff Eastin’s new drama for USA Network, “Graceland,” and Manhattan defense attorney Benjamin Barnes in ABC’s hit show “Revenge.” After his film debut as Spc. Abraham ‘Doc’ Johnson in “Hamburger Hill,” he appeared in several noteworthy films such as the “Preacher’s Wife,” “The Hunt for Red October,” and most recently, “Final Destination 5” and “The Divide.”
The Harvard University graduate was honored as the winner of the 2013 Tony Award for best featured actor in a play. He is married to actor Angela Bassett, and the two are the authors of “Friends: A Love Story.” He and Bassett are U.S. Ambassadors for UNICEF.
Entertainment will be provided by the homegrown soulful talent of Kristen JoyAnn Jamison, whose voice won her a performance at the 15th annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration Pre-Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City this past January.
A silent auction will also be held featuring a special item donated by Vance and internationally celebrated jewelry artist and Orangeburg native Karen Roach. Other items of interest from local businesses, artists and sponsors will also be available.
In its nine years, True Vine Health Services has made a difference in the lives of approximately 500 kids from Orangeburg, Calhoun, Bamberg and Dorchester counties, says Singleton, who created the organization to address what he saw as a need for the community.
“I started True Vine because I saw that our kids are really in need of encouragement and exposure,” recalls Singleton. “I wanted to reach out to kids that are often marginalized. I wanted them to have every opportunity that could help them to be their best.”
The organization provides several services including a mentoring and tutoring program which pairs participants with students from Claflin University and SC State University; enrichment trips that help to increase the cultural awareness of youth; and a Benefits Bank, which connects the participants and their families to needed social services. True Vine also hosts an annual health symposium, which is designed to promote healthy lifestyle choices.
Singleton hopes that the fundraiser will help to expand the number of programming True Vine offers to the community. More specifically, he wants to develop a safe and secure environment with an after-school program that encourages high academic achievement and inspires youth to become physically active.
Tickets for the True Vine Inaugural Gala and Dinner are available by contacting Dr. Monnie Singleton (803) 410-8206 or Anthony Smith at (803) 596-2376.