Eight different country acts are ready to take the stage for the annual Big Hearts for Big Kids fundraiser for the Sunrise House.
The line-up for the event, includes musicians Beamer Wigley, Jimmy Rankin, Beverley Mahood, High Valley, Adam Gregory, Patricia Conroy, George Canyon and local artist, Tenille Nadkrynechny, the creator of the fundraiser for the youth emergency centre in Grande Prairie.
“All of the people that have come in the past and the people coming up this year, they’re pretty amazed at how this community has been able to pull it off,” said Tenille, who personally invited the musicians.
“They’re thrilled to come to come to Grande Prairie, in the middle of freezing February on top of it all, so that really says a lot.”
Big Hearts for Big Kids will be held in Evergreen Park on Feb. 14. All of the funds raised through ticket sales, the silent auction and the live auction goes to the Sunrise House for programming and staffing.
Since the concert fundraiser began six years ago, about $525,000 has been raised. Last year brought in a record breaking $195,000.
“We always like to shoot for higher, but $195,000 is an astronomical amount of money to raise in one night,” said Tanya Wald, executive director of the Sunrise House.
“Certainly we’d love to hit that again or even it out for an even $200,000. That would be amazing.”
Tenille first organized the fundraiser six years ago after her mother brought home a pamphlet about the Sunrise House. Being 15-years-old at the time, Tenille said the reality of youth homelessness was a huge shock to her.
“I’m so grateful for an incredible support system of family and friends and I just can’t imagine growing up in the home without that,” said Tenille.
The first year, $30,000 was raised at Big Hearts for Big Kids. In the same year, the youth emergency shelter was closed due to lack of funding and a need for renovations.
“They went on with the event anyway and the first year, they raised $30,000, which went in large part to the renovations and getting the shelter doors reopened,” said Wald.
Not only has the concert fundraiser grown, the Sunrise House has as well. Last year, the youth shelter operated at 80% capacity throughout the year, with many of the nights reaching 100% capacity.
The shelter currently has 10 spaces, which are usually split between boys and girls.
“We have at least quadrupled our numbers since we reopened,” said Wald.
“Since the last Big Hearts, we’ve seen 170 youth.”
Tickets for Big Hearts for Big Kids are currently sold out. Tenille says attendees can expect songwriter circles at the concert and George Canyon will finish off the event as the headlining act.
“Most of the entertainment at this event is really intimate and personal,” said Tenille.
“There is a hardworking community that is definitely responsible for pulling it off and I’m so proud and grateful to be a part of this. It’s life changing to see the community come together and give so much support for us.”
McGOVERNS RV & MARINE SHOW ...
The annual McGovern's RV & Marine Show & Sale goes Friday, Jan. 23 to Sunday, Feb. 1 in the ENTREC Centre at Evergreen Park.