TheVIPPReport: STARS Youth Enrichment Program travels to Louisville, KY empowering future leaders both on and off the basketball court

(Dayton, OH) The S.T.A.R.S. Youth Enrichment Program, (STARS YEP) will be at Louisville’s Doss High School, 7601 St. Andrews Church Road on August 19th and 20th for a life skills and basketball camp along with a coaches clinic.

 On Friday, August 19th, NBA scout and evaluator Don Sellers will lead The Sellers Interactive Coaches Clinic. The respected professional will instruct coaching staffs how to celebrate their togetherness of the sport. In addition to learning from each other so they can work as a cohesive team. Sellers travels across the country demonstrating that all positions are vital for the success of a program. Working with organizations like the Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzles, Portland Trailblazers to the San Antonio Spurs. The Louisville workshop is open to any basketball coach at any level interested in growing their basketball knowledge and networking with their peers. Registration begins at 5:00 pm and the clinic begins at 5:30pm to 9:00 pm (EST).

Then on Saturday, August 20th, it is the S.T.A.R.S. YEP Life Skills & Basketball Camp for youth between the ages of 8 to 15 years of age. This free camp will give campers a vast array of experience when it comes to basketball knowledge and skill set that translate into discipline, work ethic and respect for themselves and others off the court. The camp is structured after Coach Mike Jarvis’ ‘Skills for Life’ book which focuses on modules that give players life skills that can sustain after the sport.   Jarvis along with former NBA star Dale Ellis will be in Louisville and will be facilitators of the basketball sessions.  WesBanco will facilitate the youth literacy programming as part of the life skills curriculum.    

We must limit our skill’s camp to the first one hundred applicants and pre-registration ends on July 30th. Check-in will be from 6:30 am to 7:30 am. Then the camp opens at 9:00 am which will include breakfast, lunch, and snacks. To conclude their day, there will be a keynote speaker and an awards ceremony at 5:00 pm.

Due to the generous support of our program partner, WesBanco the camp and coaches clinic will be free. We would like to thank them for collaborating with us to help make the camp a wonderful experience for everyone involved. Jody Gump, WesBanco’s AVP & BCM Business Development says “WesBanco is proud to partner with the S.T.A.R.S. Youth Enrichment Program. The values the program is instilling on the youth aligns with our pledge to serve the local communities.” 

To obtain an application go to https://starsyep.org/camp-application/. To setup an interview, contact VIPP Communications at info@vippcommunications.com or by calling 502-341-7306. Please add our announcement to your events calendar. We will be adding additional coaches and special guests in the coming weeks so stay tuned for those announcements.

S.T.A.R.S. Youth Enrichment Program (Skills, Talent, Action, Results, and Success) is a unique program that supports and mentors’ youth ages 8-15. And a certified 501 ©(3) non-profit organization.

Follow us on social: Twitter: @starsyep; LinkedIn: starsyep-org & Facebook: SHININGSTARSYEP

TheVIPPReport: Louisville native Marzz shoots for the stars

Special Report by Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11 ABC Louisville

Inside the Mercury Ballroom on a June summer night, Louisville’s newest sensation Marzz waits in anticipation to give fans a show.

As music fills the streets of South Fourth Street, crowds begin lining up with tickets in hand, ready to see the return of the up and coming R&B singer at the Ballroom.

“I feel it’s the atmosphere is what makes it so different,” they said.

Marzz, who is signed to Keep Cool/RCA Records, is back at the venue for a second time where others like fellow Louisvillians Bryson Tiller and Jack Harlow have also graced the stage.

“I just wanted to connect and vibe with yall, this is my home,” they said.

This night, it’s different. It’s the first time since releasing their full-length album “Love Letters” to fans – Martians as they call them, across the country.

“Baby, that’s my heartbeat. Got me looking – going crazy,” they said.

The journey to Marzz started in Louisville for Laria McCormick, a Fairdale High School graduate. The humble beginnings put the singer on the path to reaching for the stars.

They started singing in church from an early age where their mother and grandmother were both heavily involved in church leadership.

“Since I was a kid, I grew up in church. Singing in the children’s choir, I feel like that had a lot influence too. Literally being a pk, my aunties and them always had me singing solo in the choir, I used to hate it cuz it’s like literally all eyes on me,” Marzz said.

Marzz said their sound and gender identity, which is non-binary, moved them away from the church and toward the R&B billboard charts.

Marzz prefers the pronouns “they, their and them” – not “she.”

“I feel like in the church there was a lot of judgmental people. You know what I’m saying, it’s kind of weird to transition from that, but it felt good to transition into a place where I felt welcome – where I knew that ain’t nobody going to judge me,” they said.

Drawing from personal experiences of hardship and heartache, Marzz poured out feelings on pages of notebooks – each with different colors – that would eventually become the inspiration for their debut release.

“I feel like really didn’t start getting into song writing in my music until I was like 11. You know what I’m saying, that’s when my mom and dad was going through a divorce. I kind of just went to notebooks. You know, just expressing myself, I wasn’t a real verbal kid growing up. I have different color notebooks that I write in,” they said.

It wasn’t until an Instagram post, standing out from the typical scrolling, that garnered the attention of super producer Timbaland. The stars began aligning for the young artist.

“Usually, I get like 300 views but then the day that I posted it this Jhené Aiko freestyle I believe. I had went in my phone, I woke up, and I see my phone kept going off – what’s going on with my phone and I look on my Instagram — I seen Timbaland repost it and I was like hold up – I was like hold up I started screaming, I was crying. I was like is this really him?” they said.

The social media post, plus their connection with Timbaland and several recordings in tow, landed them in front of RCA Records.

The songs of love and heartache would be released as a six-track EP that would take on a deeper meaning.

“Just me exploring, you know, figuring out self, loving myself, and understanding who I am as a person, you know what I’m saying.”

The standout single, “Countless Times,” dives right into their world.

The Mercury Ballroom would seem as far away as the moon, where Marzz was headed. 

They captured national attention performing during the Soul Train Awards on the BET Amplified stage, receiving kudos from the likes of JaRule.

From that moment, Marzz skyrocketed into the stratosphere. They have been named a “Future Five Artist” by SiriusXM and Billboard magazine’s “R&B Rookie Artist” in April.

“It was a super humbling moment for me. I was like dang, ‘this is so incredible’, you know what I’m saying? I was like, speechless, I was like they really mess with me. I appreciate all the love cuz what else can I say other than thank you for hearing me,” they said.

The young artist’s career is coming at a time when the tide is changing in the music industry. Social media is playing a huge role in how hits are determined.

Their meaningful melodic vibe is separating them from the rest, pushing the realm of R&B music beyond its limits.

“I think I’m outside the box, like I don’t think that I make just R&B music. I make everything, like, it don’t matter what it is. I don’t even know if it’s got a name to it. The genre or the type of – whatever the beat or wherever the beat is taking me, that’s where I go,” they said.

Music and the way hits are made might be changing, but it’s not about topping the charts for the young artist.

“I ain’t gon’ lie I don’t think I would be this far—you know what I mean? I still have so much more to go but I’m super grateful to be where I am at,” they said.

It’s the emotions of break-up and finding new love that gives Marzz and their Martians a world of their own .Contact Sherlene Shanklin at sherlene@sherleneshanklin.comor follow me on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram

To see the story click the link: https://www.whas11.com/article/news/local/marzz-louisville-music-r-b-music/417-64505fd4-3d92-4a20-a750-66a6ec7f50bf

TheVIPPReport: The face and shirt behind the Louisville Fairness Ordinance

Special Report by Sherlene Shanklin, WHAS11, ABC Louisville

I sat down with the person who helped change the landscape for ‘fairness’ in Louisville.  

It all started with this t-shirt. Creating a cultural shift in the Louisville community.

“I always wanted too. If I was gonna get in this, I was in this for the fight. Because I knew it wasn’t just my fight. It was a fight for lots of people.” Says Alicia Pedreira.

Pedreira was thrust into the spotlight after thousands of people saw this photo at the Kentucky Star Fair in 1998.  It led to her firing from the Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children Inc… where she had worked for six months.

She says “So, I had two interviews and on the second one when I thought it was serious that they were going to actually perhaps hire me, that’s when I told them on the second interview that I was gay, and that if that was a problem, not to hire me.”

She was hired and loved the job. So, when the photo of her and her then partner Nance was taken she had no idea of the repercussions.  Her lawsuit against the company pushed her into the forefront of a movement that she was not expecting.  

Pedreira says “Absolutely not! No, I was a volunteer. As a matter of fact, I think Nance at the time was a volunteer coordinator for the fairness campaign. And I volunteered but neither one of us would have imagined.”

So, how did the t-shirt come into play and when did she wear it? She says “This was a walk for AIDS and it was at the Belvedere.  And that was my then girlfriend, Nance Goodman was her name then her name has since changed and we were waiting for the festivities to start because it was kind of like a party before they needed the walk or whatever… I remember a photographer came by and I’m kind of a ham and so we just smiled at the camera and he took his picture went on his way and that was it.”

Out of the lawsuit, the Louisville Fairness Ordinance went into effect after three attempts on January 26, 1999.  Giving legal protection in the workplace and the right to live anywhere you want. That was a pivotal moment.  Pedreira agreed saying “Yes, yes. I mean, for I think it was a cultural shift for the queer community, because we live in fear that if someone were to find out, then they could throw you out of your home. I actually didn’t live in fear.  I wasn’t put in that situation when it all came out. I was renting a house and my lovely landlords called me up and said, We don’t care. You guys are great. We love you and we stand by you don’t have to worry about that.”

Fast forward twenty years later, Pedreira finally got some type of closure in the court system but not in a monetary way.  “Well, I didn’t get a settlement, because that usually sounds like I got money. I didn’t get a dime ever. As a matter of fact, I signed with the ACLU not too settle because those attorneys all wanted to change law. They wanted it for everyone.”

So, this shirt, won as a door prize in a local bar becomes a conversation piece. Starting a conversation of change. But with all of the heartache, setbacks and years in litigation was worth it? She say “Honestly, I want to say yes,  and if it isn’t my fight, then it’ll be somebody else’s.”

►Contact WHAS11’s Sherlene Shanklin at sshanklin@whas11.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram. 

Here’s the link to my story: https://www.whas11.com/article/news/community/moments-that-matter/pride-louisville-fairness-ordinance-creation-lgbtq-issues-local/417-47beae98-fdcd-4959-a409-baa2c88df3a2