Ron Duerring, superintendent of Kanawha County Schools, sent a letter of support to Henderson and IEC earlier this year, writing, "[Your] mission to improve our community through cultural, character and intellect-building activities are in alignment with our mission at Kanawha County Schools."
Mark Davis, fine arts curriculum specialist for Kanawha County Schools, said initiatives like West V's Got Talent help encourage students to achieve by giving them an outlet for interests they're able to cultivate in school.
"As a kid, music-based classes and performance-based classes are the reason I went to school; they were the reason I wanted to go to school every day," Davis said. "All students are different, and they don't all respond to the same things, so I think allowing kids to demonstrate their talent with something like this is motivation for them to attend school, and that's a big part of it."
IEC offers other community-based programs to promote youth development, including mentor programs like Hope 4 Innovative Minds at Chandler Academy Alternative Middle School, as well as community workshops on topics ranging from building résumés to financial management. Henderson said Sunday's event would also include the unveiling of a new mentoring program -- Diligently Reiterating Excellence through Academics, Mentoring and Scholastics, or DREAMS.
"We don't know what types of jobs these kids are going to be doing, be we know they're going to have to be creative," Davis said. "Creativity has been a major thread throughout history for successful people, and these events foster creativity and allow kids an outlet for that."
The talent show will begin at 7 p.m. Sunday at the WVSU Capitol Theatre located at 123 Summers St., in downtown Charleston. Tickets are $5 for youths and $10 for adults. For more information on opportunities offered through IEC, visit www.iecevents.com.
Reach Lydia Nuzum at lydia.nu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.