Thursday, September 16, 2010

By: Hope Bertram


On the surface, the event is a fun evening of healthy eating and friendly competition as cast members from Billy Elliot pair up with the Common Threads kids to compete against each other as they work to create a healthy Sunday dinner. The audience, of course, will get to taste and weigh in on which team should win.

On a deeper level, the event is in support of Common Threads, a non-profit started by celebrity chef Art Smith, aimed at “provide underprivileged youth with the magic that accompanies tasting new, fresh foods and the satisfaction and confidence that comes along with preparing your own meals and learning new skills.” It also keeps the kids off the street. Here’s a great article by Art about Common Threads and what he’s up to now with Michelle Obama’s initiative to bring healthy foods into the school system. It was also a reality check to hear about some of the common threads participants backgrounds. Several of them come from single parent or disadvantaged homes. It’s so easy for children in negative environments to lose a feeling of self confidence and be successful. We are all very lucky that programs like Common Threads exist. They help to build kids up and break unhealthy patterns.

I was at the studio when the kids were cooking and was impressed by the meals the kids came up with – if you plan on coming to the event, you are in for a BIG treat. I was also impressed by the Common Threads kids. They were mature and confidant and more well spoken than I was at their age. They were handpicked for the program and have made several TV appearances. They believe in what they are learning and are spreading the word about healthy eating.

Common Threads website states that, “82% of Common Threads’ students limited their junk/fast food intake to one or fewer times per week.” How many of us can say that for ourselves?


Being involved with an event like this makes me want to find the time to actively volunteer again. There are so many great causes. What charities are you involved with?

Common Threads has a fantastic fundraiser coming up that’s a foodie lover’s delight. Check out their World Cook-Out for more information


If you haven’t seen Billy Elliot, it’s definitely a must see. If you go from September 28 – 30, a portion of the ticket proceeds will go to Common Treads. Register here and use code THREADS to purchase tickets.

Thanks to Broadway in Chicago for giving my friend and I wonderful Orchestra seats to the show. First off, I was very impressed that the house was so packed on a Tuesday. The acting, singing and dancing was phenomenal throughout. The story line started out a little slow, but picked up tremendously after my favorite scene. I don’t want to give away too much, but it did involve boys dancing and large than life dresses. The case received a very well deserved standing ovation. By the end of the performance, I was sitting at the edge of my seat (even though I knew how things ended) and wanted to run up and push Billy’s brother off the stage for being a jerk – he was the antagonist of the play, delaying Billy from realizing his dream for an entire year.

Posted from Hope Bertram’s blog The Year of Hope

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