One very talented Independence woman with a heart for the community is using her voice to make this holiday season extra special for children in need.
Prenicia Clifton and other local performers are putting on a concert to raise money for children in need.
Each holiday season, area families step in to sponsor children who come to West Englewood Elementary School.
This year, the school didn't have enough families to help, meaning some children could go without warm meals and may not have any gifts to open under the Christmas tree. That's where Clifton comes in.
Singing is her soul's soliloquy. It got her through a childhood growing up in the projects of Independence.
"We didn't grow up with a lot of stuff, but I grew up with my dream," Clifton said.
She is a professionally trained opera singer who has performed worldwide and is fresh off her debut at Lincoln Center and a venture in Mandarin Opera in Beijing, China.
When Clifton is not singing, she is a behavioral specialist at West Englewood Elementary and urges students to achieve their goals.
"I tell them that a dream is as big as you make it. And that if you don't believe in it, no one will. So it starts with you," she said.
West Englewood Elementary is a North Kansas City Title One school - a place where hopes and dreams may seem in short supply. Most of the children who learn there live in poverty.
"I see kids with holes in their shoes. I see kids come in without coats. I see kids that come in who are hungry," she said.
That pushed Clifton to combine her two passions - children and opera - and put on a benefit concert.
"We'll sponsor meals, warm clothing, basic needs that they would need during the holidays, down to gifts. Some of these kids would not have gifts if we did not provide them. So even if it's just one thing, it does my heart so much good," she said.
She hopes the children will feel just as fulfilled for the holidays.
Any extra funds will go toward field trips based in the arts.
The concert is on Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at First Christian Church of North Kansas City, located at 2018 Gentry St.
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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