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Life Amplified continues to entertain while raising awareness

What was supposed to be one show in January 2013 at Tampa Pitcher Show for Redefining Refuge and its fight against human trafficking in Tampa Bay has evolved into a movement.

Life Amplified, a tri-annual community, all-ages, spoken word and variety showcase for charity, celebrates three years on Jan. 24 with its seventh production at Carrollwood Players Theatre, 4333 Gunn Highway.

Life Amplified EMPOWERS features 18 acts coming together to both entertain and raise awareness of a serious issue. Over the last three years, Life Amplified has taken on hard-hitting issues like human trafficking, bullying, PTSD, sexual violence, and has helped Animal Coalition of Tampa raise funds to rebuild its facility destroyed by arson. In May 2014, the volunteer charity showcase was recognized as Fox TV’s Hometown Hero for its work with pediatric cancer and Legos for Leukemia.

On Jan. 24, 2015, Life Amplified EMPOWERS focuses on Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and EQUUSOLUTIONS, the nonprofit organization that uses rescued horses as part of therapy to help servicewomen struggling with PTSD brought on by MST.

The showcase features six poets, including Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay Best Local Spoken Word Artist, R. Mona Leza, and five singers such as Topher Warren, who is performing in Spanish Lyric Theatre’s “Shrek” in May 2015. It also features two local comedians: Robin Savage and SomeGuyNamedFrank.

Acoustic musicians Bernadett Celene Fritch and Dominick Schafer, beatboxer Andrew Dieppa, and the band Southern Yonkers round out the lineup.

“As a survivor of sexual assault and PTSD,” Fritch said, “I became an Advocate for Sexual Assault Survivors as well as joining the Sexual Violence Task Force of Tampa Bay. My first step was the hardest, as I was triggered, had emotional setbacks and fear came out of nowhere. Many people don’t support or believe people that have been sexually assaulted. There is much to overcome. That is where Life Amplified comes in,” said Fritch.

She wrote a song about this called “Cup of Compassion” that will be performed at the showcase.

“The song is about healing. ‘Won’t you listen to the words I say, can you give me your time today? I want to live to give back and I pray, I find a way.’ “In my opinion, Equestrian Therapy is a way to get in touch with their feelings and build confidence.

“I wish this were available to me in addition to other therapies. I feel Equestrian Emotional Exposure therapy can help break the pattern of fear and repetitive thought patterns. We have long-used animals as comfort and healing aids,” said Fritch. “Deb Kelley should be commended on bringing this urgent therapy to the forefront. I am honored being a part of Life Amplified and the women who have fought for our country that are experiencing MST. My wish for them is healing and that they get the help that is needed.”

The featured performer, Justin Myers, a mind reader, will mesmerize the audience with an exhibition in mind reading, telepathy, and suggestion.

Samantha Taylor is a fan of Myers’ ability, and, unable to make it to the January showcase, contacted Myers, then Kelley about a special addition to his act.

Taylor sent a challenge and a check donation for Equusolutions. Only Kelley knows the question and the mind-reading challenge Myers will face on Jan. 24.

Taylor wrote, “Justin cannot see the mind-reading challenge ahead of time or know what is on it.”

With his secret challenge to be revealed after intermission, Myers will be put to the test to display his uncanny ability to know exactly what his audience participant is thinking.

Volunteers Kyle Mould will be taking video of the event and James Geiger, of James Geiger Photography, will be taking souvenir photos available for purchase after the showcase.

“For the last three years, I remain extremely humbled by the outpouring of love and support we receive for Life Amplified,” said Kelley. “If Life Amplified educates or assists one person to make a connection or find needed help, than that’s all that matters. That’s why we do this. The fact that I have 18 super-talented entertainers performing for this worthy cause is simply icing on the cake.”

Life Amplified EMPOWERS will take place on Saturday, Jan. 24 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Carrollwood Players Theatre, 4333 Gunn Highway. Learn more about Life Amplified or buy advance tickets at www.lifeampli fiedshowcase.com, also on Facebook at www.face book.com/spokenword showcase. Tickets to Life Amplified EMPOWERS are $9 in advance online and $11 at the door.

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