The Nine Network Presents STL Celebrity Voices,

Featuring Author Ridley Pearson and Other Celebrities Reading Students’ Poetry

Event Benefits America SCORES St. Louis as Part of National Public Media Initiative American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen 

St. Louis, MOMarch 16, 2012 Celebrities including bestselling author Ridley Pearson will put youth literacy in the spotlight at STL Celebrity Voices, a fundraising event presented by the Nine Network of Public Media and benefitting America SCORES St. Louis, a non-profit youth development program. STL Celebrity Voices will be held Saturday, April 28, 2012, at 8:30 p.m. at The Sheldon Concert Hall.


Grammy-winning songwriters, bestselling authors and artists from ex’treme Institute by Nelly will perform poetry that they have co-written with students who participate in America SCORES St. Louis’ creative writing programs for youth. Some students will perform with their celebrity mentors. For instance, Ridley Pearson, who is also chairing the event, will read a poem with his co-author, an America SCORES student named Aliciya. Country musician-songwriter Dave Berg will sing with student Trinaya an original song he wrote inspired by poetry written by America SCORES’ young people.


Other celebrities participating include author Amy Sklansky, Grammy-winning producer Alonzo Lee and prominent sports figures.


Says Pearson: “What’s incredible about celebrities and young poets getting together like this is that this isn’t ‘snooze’ poetry. This is ‘from the heart’ narrative that warms your soul while alerting you to the challenges some of these wonderful young people are facing. Society is defined as ‘a structured community of people.’ STL Celebrity Voices allows us to actually structure our community––a way for us to come together to celebrate and appreciate the voices of our youth. These are the evenings that demand our participation if we are truly to become a working society, more than in name only.”


The Nine Network and America SCORES St. Louis have joined forces to promote youth literacy as part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, a public media initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help local communities find solutions to address the dropout crisis. As part of the American Graduate initiative, the Nine Network is broadcasting short videos featuring America SCORES youth performing their original poetry. The segments can also be seen online at


Adds Nine Network President and CEO Jack Galmiche: “All of us at the Nine Network and our public media colleagues across the country have been inspired by the young people involved in America SCORES St. Louis. We’re also very proud to showcase their talents in conjunction with STL Celebrity Voices. The enthusiasm and determination of these young people fuels our commitment to achieve success locally and nationally with American Graduate.”


Tickets for STL Celebrity Voices are available through MetroTix and are tax deductible. Program tickets are $25 and include a post-event reception. VIP tickets are $100 and include additionally a 7:00 p.m. pre-show VIP cocktail hour with live music, hors d’oeuvres and dessert, plus VIP orchestra seating. For more information, visit


About the Nine Network of Public Media

The Nine Network of Public Media is a multifaceted public media organization creating a network of individuals and organizations empowered by public media to strengthen civic life. One of the nation’s most watched public television stations, Nine offers the people of the St. Louis region multiple ways to explore the world and become engaged in civic life, including the Nine Center for Public Engagement, nineAcademy,, and four distinct broadcast channels (Nine PBS, Nine World, Nine Create and Nine Kids). The Nine Network’s rich legacy of serving the community was launched in 1954 and continues through our mission of bringing St. Louis together as we connect our region to the world and the world to St. Louis.


About America Scores St. Louis

America SCORES St. Louis is a non-profit youth development program that has served over 2,000 urban youth in the city of St. Louis. Using a national, evidence-based model, America SCORES partners with underserved elementary schools to provide a high quality, team-based program that integrates soccer, poetry, and service learning. After engaging in poetry and creative writing, America SCORES students outperform their peers academically. Last year, twice as many SCORES students improved at least one grade level in reading in comparison to non-SCORES students, and seven out of 10 improved their writing skills. America SCORES St. Louis was recently selected as a FOCUS St. Louis “What’s Right With The Region” awardee and was recognized in Forbes Magazine as one of the top five youth organizations to support. For more information, visit:



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