Talent Show Raises Hundreds for Operation P.J. Pride

September 14, 2015 11:30 am Last Updated: September 16, 2015 5:50 pm

PORT JERVIS—Riverside park was awash in music, dance and applause on Sept. 13 as Port Jervis hosted its second annual Tri-State Talent Show.

The music ranged from oldies like “Sweet Caroline” sung by organizer Bill Harris to “Over the Rainbow” by Patricia Taub and “Amazing Grace” by Jaelyn Csencsits. There were a few dance routines, as well as a cheerleading performance, and panels of artwork from local artists to make it an all-inclusive talent show.

Besides showcasing the latent talent in the area, the event was also a fundraiser for Operation P.J. Pride, a community initiative to reduce substance abuse, especially among youth.

Between the tricky tray baskets, the 50/50 raffle, and the concession stand, the event raised $519 for the organization.

Chairwoman of Operation P.J. Pride, Valerie Maginsky, announced at the talent show that the group had just received a $125,000, five-year federal grant to hire a coordinator for the organization as well as funding for some activities.

She clarified that that money was earmarked for very specific purposes, which is why they still need to fundraise.

“We can’t go out and pick up pens and book bags for kids and stuff like that, so this [the fundraiser] is for the fun stuff … so when we go places, we have something besides free pamphlets,” she said.

Harris said Peter Tomasi, another organizer, chose Operation P.J. Pride to be the recipient of this year’s talent show fundraiser because of the important work they do in the community.

“We just wanted to encourage people to get involved,” he said.

 This year there was a better turn out than last year, he said, but he hopes to get double the number next year through a concerted media campaign. “And get this place full like Woodstock.”

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