FARMINGTON — The Fame Festival fundraiser, hosted by Exodus Peer to Peer Native Recovery, will take place Dec. 4 at San Juan College, and auditions are being held this month for actors, dancers, musicians, comedians and bands to perform at the event.

Lilah Westrick is the executive director of Exodus, which is a 24-hour drop-in center for the homeless located on Main Street.

In addition to providing counseling and food, the organization also operates a supported education and workforce development program in conjunction with San Juan College that seeks to connect the chronically unemployed with jobs.

"Many homeless people have mental health issues, so they keep getting fired," said Westrick. "Our program provides psychosocial counseling and we also provide supported employment for them."

With an on-site Internet cafe where students can work on homework and resumes, Exodus currently has 10 clients enrolled in its program.

The festival, which will consist of a screening of the 2009 movie "Fame," interspersed with live reenactments of scenes from the movie, will raise money to support Exodus' efforts to break the cycle of homelessness and unemployment.

"Because the college really supports the arts, I was thinking having students reenact some of the "Fame' scenes would be a good fundraiser," said Westrick. "There will also be a lip-sync karaoke contest and a dessert-eating jingle contest during the festival, where people can taste desserts and make up a jingle about it on the spot.


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Michelle Peterson is director of San Juan College's Native American Center, which provides Native Americans with educational assistance and guidance about financial aid, transportation, and enrollment in the college's educational programs.

Peterson has been coordinating with Westrick on the Fame Festival, which will take place at the college's Little Theater.

"One of the things the college wants to do is provide help for Native Americans who are homeless, so we're trying to support this fundraiser as much as possible," said Peterson. "I think this event will be quite unique. There aren't a lot of performing outlets in the community, so it will be really cool."

Those interested in auditioning for the Fame Festival should call Westrick at 505-701-0153 to make an appointment. The last call for auditions is Nov. 29.