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WELCOME TO UPBEAT NEWS!  LAST UPDATE 8/20/08.  THANKS FOR HELPING TO MAKE UPBEAT NEWS A VALUABLE SOURCE FOR NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS! HAVE AN UPBEAT DAY! 

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EDITORS NOTE:  Due to a technical issue, this story did not have enough exposure in the May edition of UPBEAT NEWS. Therefore, we have decided to run this article again for the benefit of those who may have missed it. 
We hope you find it as special as we did.


Unconditional
Smiles…
No Strings Attached

"Amazzeing" Entertainer Shares Smiles
 With Hospitalized Children

By Barry Gould 

The winner of the 2007 Charity Challenge at the Middlesex County Fair was a newcomer to the competition.  But his message of hope and love of helping children brought old-fashioned happiness to all who met him and his puppet pal, Maurice. 

Bret Amazzeing is the creative force behind his Dunellen, NJ based 501c3 organization aptly entitled “We Share Smiles, Inc.”  At just 18 years old, he is arguably one of the youngest founders of an active and rapidly growing New Jersey charity.   

But it was not all smiles for Bret as a youngster growing-up in his hometown of Piscataway, NJ.  “I got involved with some of the wrong kids…they were doing all kinds of things…hanging around in gangs, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, you name it.  My grades were plummeting even though I was good student…I just got bored with classes.“

Bret confided in his school guidance counselor who suggested he take a theatre arts course.  That’s where I really got involved with magic.  So much so, I started a production company and soon was booked for all kinds of gigs.”   He soon joined the Society of American Magicians, which donated their entertainment services for annual charity shows for kids in hospitals.  During the holidays the shows were always appreciated and well-received, but I quickly realized that these kids only were entertained once a year…but their ordeals were year-round.  That was not right.  So I started performing for them on other occasions throughout the year.  His show consists of a blend of magic and puppetry that lives up to his last name: Amaazeing!

The organization was started by Bret, his parents, Jesse and Nina and younger brother Mark.  His dad passed away in November of 2007 but rather than take a break to mourn his beloved supporter, he and the family used that energy to rededicate and double their efforts to grow their young cause, celebrating the memory of Jesse life and the good he did for their family and their community.

Children visited by Maurice are given a 17” version of Bret’s sidekick.  Unlike puppets like those created by Shari Lewis or Jim Henson that had character voices all their own, strangely, Maurice has no voice, yet you can’t help but connect with his silent movements and gestures that show his love for children.  “If I gave Maurice a voice, he would have to speak in that language, thereby limiting him from communicating with children who speak other languages,” explains Bret, “this way, Maurice can communicate without words and speak to the children with his heart…and be universally understood.” 

“I chose a lion for my puppet pal Maurice because of  the courage lions have. When you see these young children afflicted with Leukemia, Cancer, Heart-disease, and the like, you can’t help but admire them for their courage to withstand their treatments and still have a positive outlook on their lives and their world.” Bret explained.  Smiles Make Illness Less Evident is his lesson of hope for these youngsters and his performances with Maurice underscore that message.

Apparently, his magic is working.  In the past 3 years as a charitable organization, Bret and We Share Smiles, Inc. has performed almost 100 times in Children’s hospitals as far reaching as Mexico, Hawaii, and Florida.  He has performed at Shriners Hospitals for Children, Joe Dimagio Hospital, Jack Nichols Hospital as well as several safehouses and Orphanages.  In. New Jersey, he has worked his magic at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, St. Peter's Medical Center, and Ronald McDonald House, and Children's Specialized Hospital, Angel Wings  just to name a few.  “Each show is different, because each group of kids is different…but the common denominator is humor and laughter, and the SMILES we share.” beams Bret.  In fact, you can’t help but smiling yourself whenever Bret enters the room.  His friendly face, sincerity, and warm smile light-up the darkest room...and his story is equally "Amazzeing!"

Editor’s Note: We Share Smiles, Inc. was the top prize winner in the 2007 Charity  Challenge at the Middlesex County Fair which will be held August 4-10, 2008 at the Middlesex County Fairgrounds on Cranberry Road in East Brunswick, NJ.  The annual event issues a container for each registered charity to collect free-will offerings from fairgoers during the week-long fair.  At the close of the Fair, representatives of each charity collect and count their donations and the top three charities are awarded bonuses as much as $500 for the top prize, which is sponsored by Bonamici, Colletti, PC, CPAs www.bonamicicpa.com the organizers of the event. Mikie Dees Catering (www.mikiedees.com) provides the middle prize and UPBEAT NEWS (www.myupbeatnews.com) provides the third prize. For more information about the Fair, go to www.middlesexcountyfair.org,

UPBEAT NEWS
is proud to help sponsor such a worthwhile event and encourages all 501c3 non-profit organizations operating in Middlesex County to consider registering for the 2008 Charity Challenge.


 

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SIDEBARLaughs

Remember the first time we heard the word "FREEDOM FRIES" as the new name for French Fries when it was reported that France was not  helping us fight the war in the Mideast? We removed their name from the fancy fried potato dish?

At first, you think it's a joke, until  menu boards across the nation started reflecting this new trend.

But this was not the first time a food was hastily renamed: According to a passage in The American Pageant - Eleventh Edition, a college history textbook, when anti-German sentiments were strong in the US; "The teaching of the German language was short-sightedly discontinued in many high schools and colleges.  Sauerkraut became "liberty cabbage," and hamburger became "liberty steak."

So whether you savor spuds, crave kraut, or consider yourself a hamburger helper, remember that even US Presidents have been known to ban Broccoli...not for the political fallout, just personal taste!

Until next time, please pass the the hot dogs, liberty cabbage ....and  don't forget the French-er...FREEDOM FRIES!

Have a funny story?  Share it with us!  E-mail the editor at UPBEAT NEWS by clicking here now!


     

 

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PLAYS-IN-THE-PARK
OPENS WITH
"THE PRODUCERS"

Mel Brooks' riotous musical about Broadway, opens on Tuesday, June 24th for 10 performances to see what is the first community theater production of this entertaining, 12-time-Tony-Award-winning show.

Plays-in-the-Park, or PIP as it is known, is an outdoor theatre group that performs at the Stephen J. Capestro Theatre of the Middlesex County Roosevelt Park on Pine Drive, just one block south of the Menlo Park Mall off of Route 1 in Edison, NJ  The group, under the direction of Producer Gary Cohen, is now in its 46th consecutive year and always features top-notch performers from the area, those new to theatre as well as those who have appeared on stage and TV throughout the US.  Their professional sets, costumes, lighting and orchestration makes PIP a "must" for anyone who loves musicals.

The Producers will have performances every night of the week at 8:30 PM, except for Sundays and July 4th, through July 5th.

Other plays scheduled for this year are the childrens'  favorite Beauty and the Beast which will run Wed, July 16 - Sat, July 26 (no Sundays) and the ever-popular Smokey Joe's Cafe which runs Wed, Aug 6 - Sat, Aug 16th (no Sundays)

     

If you'd like more information about PIP, click on this link or visit their website at www.playsinthepark.com   For information about this show, click on this link THE PRODUCERS

 

 

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