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Cross Singathon supports 'great place to be'

BY LAUREL BLACKlblack@paducahsun.com

More than 100 performers from around the region stepped into the spotlight Saturday in support of a local after-school club.

The Oscar Cross Boys & Girls Club Sing-a-thon, the organization's largest fundraiser, kicked off at 6 p.m. in the Paducah Tilghman High School auditorium. About 250 volunteers - including performers, guest hosts and phone operators - came together to help raise money for the club.

"We've got groups from all over western Kentucky that come to perform, not just from Paducah. That really says a lot to me, that the community's willing to come out and help the kids," Oscar Cross executive director Allen Treece said.

With the opening of a second location on Park Avenue last June, the organization expects operating expenses to be higher this year, he said. For the past four years, fundraising from the Sing-a-thon has held steady at about $15,000, but Treece hoped Saturday's event would bring in closer to $20,000.

The more than 60-year-old nonprofit provides a place for kids from elementary to high school age to receive help with homework, engage in art, participate in recreational and learning activities, and learn about healthy lifestyles and leadership. It logged about 27,000 visits in 2013.  

"It helps kids stay in school and keeps them from getting in trouble. It gives them a chance to get their grades up," Paducah Middle School student Korie Pearl, 14, said.

Pearl said she's been coming to Oscar Cross for the past six months, and has seen her grades go from Fs to As. She said Power Hour - an hour of tutoring and learning activities - is her favorite part of the club.

"It's just a great place to be," Pearl said.

Clark Elementary student Victerion Tyler, 10, said he's been coming to Oscar Cross for four years and has seen his fellow attendees become nicer and more self-confident.

"It helps you get along with others," he said.

Pearl and Tyler are both part of the 12-member Oscar Cross Step Team, which jumpstarted the Sing-a-thon with a high-energy dance routine. Performances continued until 11 p.m.

Treece said donations to the club are welcome any time of the year. For more information, call 270-444-9124.

Contact Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641, or follow @LaurelFBlack on Twitter.

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