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Youth choir to perform benefit at Sugarloaf United Methodist

Testify, a non-denominational youth choir from Charlotte, N.C., will be performing at the Sugarloaf United Methodist Church at 7 p.m. Wednesday in honor of members of The Next Stop Foundation Inc. According to its Web site, Testify is a traveling choir group for teenagers that performs choreographed musical dramas to "spread the Word of God to those in our community and in other states."

The concert is open to the public, and all proceeds will benefit the Next Stop members, who will be the guests of honor.

The Next Stop is a nonprofit organization designed to provide social, recreational and learning opportunities for high-functioning special-needs young adults. Vicki LaRoche, the president of The Next Stop, said they got connected to Testify through one of the choir's leaders, Bud Jones, who offered to provide this fundraising opportunity for The Next Stop during Testify's summer tour. Testify is made up of more than 125 young adults from about 25 different churches around Charlotte and is also a nonrofit organization.

"We're making this a special night out for our members," LaRoche said. "One of our own members will be singing 'Amazing Grace' after their show, and we'd love for members of the community to be there to see what The Next Stop is all about."

LaRoche said The Next Stop will be showing a video after the concert during which attendees will have the opportunity to make a donation to the organization.

The Next Stop was founded by LaRoche and her husband in 2006, and it has grown from 10 members in September 2007 to 38. Volunteers hold afternoon programs for members from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays at the Suwanee Sports Academy.

The organization's vision, according to LaRoche, is to have a community center to serve more special needs people for more hours with a variety of activities going on at the same time. LaRoche sees great opportunities in the interaction of its members with the community at large by having events such as the upcoming concert.

"We hope to continue their integration into the community to enhance their lives and provide bright opportunities they might not otherwise have," she said.