Benefit show will turn spotlight on community's youth

Photo provided
Alex Rose, pictured, is an international underwater photographer, science editor of Ocean Geographic Magazine, and founder of ocean conservation company Blue Ring.

Guest Columnist

It has been almost 10 months since the 150th – and last (ever!) — Will Read and Sing for Food (WRASFF) show.

Audiences donated more than $160,000 to dozens of Dubois County charities thru WRASFF performances since 2011, proving time and time again that we live in a very giving community.

Dubois County rocks!

I don’t miss WRASFF — as its leader, it wore me out.

I do miss the people though: the musicians and writers who donated their time and talent to help others; the audience (their generosity, laughter and applause) and their encouragement for us to keep on keeping on for eight years.

But mostly, I miss making a difference in the community — in a collective sense. By that I mean bringing a bunch of people together under one roof to help a common worthy cause.

OK, I guess what I’m trying to say is, it’s time to help put on a benefit show again.

Not in the form of WRASFF, but a different kind of show: The Dubois County Making A Difference Awards, which is taking place at the Astra Theatre, 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 10.

I’m excited to get my making a difference fix again.

I’m one of the founders of Kimball Electronics’ employee giving circle, called Kimball Electronics Gives (KEG), which is presenting the Making A Difference event. Proceeds from the show will be shared with various charities in our community, with the help of the Dubois County Community Foundation, later this fall.

My free time once been spent on WRASFF was used to float ideas by my giving circle partners and figure out the nuts and bolts to make this a successful public event.

We wanted to present something unique to the public that will ultimately benefit others in need and do our part to further help make our communities be great places to live.

We wanted something that would promote making a difference in our community during the month of September, which we designated as Making A Difference Month in Dubois County.

We wanted to encourage other businesses and organizations to participate, but our main emphasis was placed on involving today’s youth.

All schools and students in Dubois County were invited to come up with creative ways to celebrate Making A Difference Month — and act on those ideas. A 1- to 3-minute video had to be submitted capturing the spirit of their project. Those videos will be shown on the Astra movie screen, and winners will be announced that night. Think the Oscars — minus the ego.

It was decided that two of the community project awards would be created in memory of two special people who passed away this year. The Middle School category award is in honor of 11-year-old Isabelle Meyer, who lost her life a few months ago during a Girl Scout event in Perry County. We are impressed by Isabelle’s past involvement in helping create gift bags for chemotherapy patients.

The general community project award category will be presented in honor of Bob Dutchess, of Jasper, who quietly provided financial support to several worthy causes, including Next Act Inc., Lincoln Amphitheatre, and the Dubois County Humane Society. Bob also was a faithful supporter of WRASFF.

We also announced an essay contest, open to students. Themes included: how the student personally made a difference in their community; a person they most admire who helps others in need; a charity they most believe in; how can we help the earth for future generations. The finalists in each school category will appear on the Astra stage, and the winning essays will be announced. Winners will read their short essays.  

Our guest speaker, Alex Rose, of Chicago, is an international underwater photographer, science editor of Ocean Geographic Magazine, and founder of ocean conservation company Blue Ring. Her goal is to find ways to protect our world’s precious marine habitats through diving, writing, photography, education and research. She uses her talents and skills to make a difference! She will be sharing her amazing photos and videos of her adventures.

Alex also holds the unique distinction of being a fellow with The Explorers Club, a prestigious American-based international multidisciplinary professional society with the goal of promoting scientific exploration and field study. Other Explorers Club fellows include Neil Armstrong, James Cameron, Teddy Roosevelt, Charles Lindbergh, to name a few.

Music will be performed by two local musicians, Kyle Lueken and Debbie Schuetter, who helped raise a lot of money for others during WRASFF shows.

Videos. Essays. Music. An incredible guest speaker who will bring her underwater world to tide-less Dubois County. All this packed into a 90-minute show designed to inspire and Make A Difference.

So how can you make a difference?

Simply be part of our audience and cheer on our local youth who are truly making a difference. Your ten-dollar donation can really add up when combined with those around you. Also, if we fill at least 200 seats, Kimball Electronics will throw in an extra $2,000, which will provide us with even more giving opportunity to charities this fall.

I’m excited to shake off the cobwebs and be part of something unique and meaningful again—in a collective way.

I promise you will be entertained, emotionally moved and inspired. Trust me, I’ve seen the videos and read all the essays.

Let’s make a difference together on Oct. 10.

Tickets for the event are $10 and can be purchased at the Astra starting at 6:15 p.m. on Oct. 10, or you can reserve them online at

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