Food Event Benefits Teens

by Daniel Schere

More than 10 restaurants and breweries came togetherNovember 20 for the fifth annual Taste of the South event held at the MiltonRhodes Center for the Arts. The event is held as a benefit night for the groupAuthoring Action””a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping teens find theirinner talent through writing and the performing arts. This year’s eventfeatured local favorites like Sweet Potatoes and Dewey’s Bakery along withthree wineries in neighboring counties. The event featured tastings, a silentaction and a spoken word poetry performance from group’s students.

Authoring Action Executive Director Lynn Rhoades said thisyear’s event was well attended and resulted in raising more money than any ofthe previous years. Rhoades said Authoring Action was started by a group of womenin 2002 who wanted to raise money, and the event was first held incollaboration with the National Black Theatre Festival.

Authoring Action typically includes about two dozen studentsevery year, some of which have come from disadvantaged backgrounds and arereferred by social workers. Rhoades said roughly 350 students have passedthrough the program since its beginning.

“Our main goal as an organization is to develop teen authorswho develop original work from their life stories and their societal issues,”she said.

Rhoades added that many of her former students have becomementors of their own at prestigious institutions like Julliard, CaliforniaInstitute for the Arts and UNC School of the Arts.

“They most often say to us that it helped them develop theirvoice, that it helped them to become critical thinkers and be articulate,” shesaid. And just to see the world differently. Some of them say that it helpedthem with their own parenting skills.”

Rhoades said the most important message she aims tocommunicate through the program is that the teens should not see themselves asvictims of their situations.