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Kids helping Kids program benefits Sunshine Shelter

Vidalia — Kids helping Kids brought smiles to many faces.

And smiles are just what 12-year-old volunteer Kailey Hutchins wanted to see.

“It is refreshing to see everyone smile,” Hutchins said. “I enjoy doing things like this to help out the community.”

The first Kids helping Kids, a program aimed at helping the Sunshine Shelter in Natchez, took place Saturday at the Vidalia Convention center.

Malan Parks, who manages The Castle Restaurant and Bowies Tavern, coordinated the event. Parks said she wanted to draw from her previous experience with fundraising, but do something different at the same time.

“Since it is for the Sunshine Shelter, I wanted to do something that involved the kids,” Parks said. “I wanted to give them a chance to give back to the community.”

Rosie Woods, 17, who is on the Trinity Episcopal School Dance Team, decided to give up some of her free time on a Saturday to entertain the crowd that showed up for the event.

“I did it because the kids are in need,” Woods said. “It is a good deed.”

Landon Davis, 8, was at the convention center winning door prizes and intent on having fun.

“Being on the magic thing was the most fun,” Davis said of being selected by Magic Nate to take part in Nate’s magic show. “I liked it the most when he was getting money out of my ear.”

The emcees of the event, Trey Price and Alethea Shelton, were no strangers to volunteering, or the stage, as the two volunteer at the Natchez Little Theatre.

“I had been looking to give back to the community more,” Price said. “When the lady who asked me to emcee the event said it was for the Sunshine Shelter, that made volunteering for it even better.”

Co-coordinator Desiree Smith said it was important to show young people that they can give back.

“It shows kids who are more fortunate that they have a voice and can help,” Smith said. “These kids at the Sunshine Shelter really need it.”

Parks said while she may not reach her goal of $3,000 for the shelter this year, she believes this event will get stronger in the years to come.

“I know it will grow,” Parks said. “We just have to keep it up and get the community more involved.

“We want to see kids helping kids in the Miss-Lou.”

At the end of the day, it was still about the smiles for Hutchins.

“I just enjoyed seeing everyone’s smiling faces as we watched the performers,” Hutchins said.

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