Wylene Sims Burch, director of the Howard County Center of African American Culture Inc. (and a former elementary school teacher), believes no child should ever be left behind.
So when the center puts on its fifth Talent Showcase to Spotlight Howard County Youth on Saturday, each of the 25 children who submitted an application will have at least a moment in the spotlight.
"It's up to the child. If the child will come in and rehearse and perform their activity and they wish to be on the show that day, we encourage them," Burch said. "They're going to sing, dance, recite poetry, do orations and play the piano, musical instruments, things like that. We are spotlighting the talents of Howard County, and we have all of the diverse groups."
Performers are limited only by age: They must be 6 to 12 years old. Each child will receive a trophy and a certificate.
"Oh no, we cannot rule anybody out!" Burch said. "A child came here the other day and said, `I would like to read something or write a poem.' And so I gave her a little poem right away by Mamie Cole, [called] I Am a Child. I believe in poetry."
And in families, as well as in children.
Burch founded the Howard County Center of African American Culture in 1987 to preserve the history of Howard County's African-American families and "highlight the achievements and contributions of African-American families around the world," she said.
The Talent Showcase will be held at 2 p.m. in Smith Theatre at Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. Tickets are $5; $2 for children. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. of Columbia is co-sponsoring the event.
The Howard County Center of African American Culture is at 5434 Vantage Point Road, Columbia.