Owensboro has welcomed many famous and important people to town– presidents, vice-presidents, and country and bluegrass music stars– and on August 22, we will be hosting another well-known celebrity who can serve to encourage and motivate us all.
We’ve all seen, or at least heard of the story portrayed in the inspirational book and movie, “The Blind Side.” Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for depicting Leigh Anne Tuohy, who, along with her husband Sean and children Collins and Sean, Jr., welcomed Michael Oher into their family at a time when he was an at-risk teen bouncing from foster homes to life on the streets. The movie touched many hearts for a number of reasons. The Tuohys faced criticism and disparaging remarks when they attempted to help Michael be successful in school and go on to be a football player. But their commitment to making Michael a member of their family paid off for everyone. After playing for the Super Bowl winning Baltimore Ravens team, today Michael is a professional football offensive tackle for the Carolina Panthers, thanks in part to the Tuohys’ love and kindness toward him and the nurturing of his God-given athleticism.
According to her website (LeighAnneTuohy.com), Leigh Anne hopes to inspire her audience members to realize the full potential of those in their community and “to find value in those who society has deemed valueless.” She shares how her experiences with Michael Oher changed her and her family. “He had a much greater impact on our lives than we did on his life,” says Leigh Anne, one of the country’s most sought after motivational speakers.
In addition to inspiring groups all over the country through her speaking, Leigh Anne is also interior designer for many celebrities and served as a designer for one season of “Extreme Home Makeover.” She has even made a cameo appearance in the movie “Saving Mr. Banks.” Leigh Anne is also the author of, In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving (with husband Sean), Making It Happen: Just Turn Around, and Turn Around, Reach Out, Give Back and Get Moving. She and her husband Sean founded the Making it Happen Foundation, which, “promotes awareness, provides hope, and improves standards of living for all the children fighting to survive in the invisible cracks in society.”
It seems fitting then that on August 22, Leigh Anne will be the special guest and speaker for the event, “An Evening with Leigh Anne Tuohy,” to benefit the Alma Randolph Charitable Foundation (ARCF). Alma Randolph began her foundation in 1993 for the sole purpose of helping to clothe disadvantaged children. Since then this valuable organization has provided clothing and shoes for 14,380 children altogether. Alma Randolph, once one of those children “fighting to survive in the invisible cracks in society” remembers experiencing the downfalls that accompany living in poverty after her father passed away when she was 3 years old. She began the Foundation as a way to spare today’s children from being exposed to those same unpleasant encounters she lived through as a child from a disadvantaged household.
Last year, the Foundation, a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization, was able to clothe 600 local children. Alma has made it her personal goal to raise enough money to clothe at least 1,000 children for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year. A Ladies Luncheon and Fashion Show event held in late May provided a healthy start toward this goal, but Alma is hoping that “An Evening with Leigh Anne Tuohy” will raise enough funds to fulfill this endeavor.
To help identify the children most in need, the Alma Randolph Charitable Foundation and its Board of Directors takes referrals from Family and Youth Resource Centers in the local school systems as well as organizations such as Girls, Inc., the Cliff Hagan Boys & Girls Club, the Daniel Pitino Shelter, the Neblett Center and St. Joseph’s Peace Mission, to name a few. Priority for clothing is first given to those children living in homeless shelters. Each child is allotted $100 to spend and local retailers Kohl’s and Kmart offer additional discounts on their already low prices to help make that money stretch further.
You can help the Alma Randolph Charitable Foundation reach its goal and learn how you too can make a difference in your community. Please join ARCF for “A Night with Leigh Anne Tuohy” on August 22 at the Owensboro Convention Center. The doors will open at 6 p.m. for pre-show entertainment. General seating tickets are $18 and $35, witçh the higher priced tickets allowing attendees to be closer to the stage. The event begins at 7 p.m. with greetings from dignitaries and performances by Alma Randolph and a choir of regional children in grades 3-8. Then Leigh Anne Tuohy will take the stage to motivate, encourage and inspire us all. Don’t miss out!
• Tickets for “An Evening with Leigh Anne Tuohy” can be purchased through www.ticketleap.com. Once on the site, type “Leigh Anne Tuohy” in the search box and it will take you directly to the purchasing page.
• Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets for a discounted price of $30 each.
• Many local restaurants will be donating a percentage of their revenue that evening to the ARCF. However, a list was unavailable at press time.
• For questions or more information, call the Alma Randolph Charitable Foundation office at 270-852-6559.
Casey Hamilton is a former public educator and counselor who now coordinates the Teacher Education program at OCTC. She is married to Rob Hamilton and they have been blessed with two dynamic children, Addison, age 13, and Jack Walton, age 9.
This article was featured in the July/August 2015 issue of Owensboro Parent.