Paul Rudd All-Star Bowling Benefit for SAY
You know the answer but your hand is paralyzed by the thought of having to speak. You know that even though you will say the right answer, you’ll still be made fun of because you will stutter when you say it. Taro Anderson was that kid. As an adult he began SAY—Stuttering Association for the Young—in his New York apartment. More than a decade later we came together for the Fourth Annual All-Star Bowling Benefit to support SAY hosted by Paul Rudd.
“I got involved with SAY many years ago, maybe eight,” Rudd explained. He was impressed by the courage of the kids and was moved to do more. “We had the chance to do this event for the first time four years ago. It has grown organically.”
Growing up Rudd moved around a lot and was always feeling like an outsider. It wasn’t until 7th grade speech class that he felt like he had “found a fit that was right.” His teacher left a great impact on him and led him to his eventual career.
SAY gives kids the courage to speak and find their fit. Rudd says it has been an excellent reward to see the SAY kids grow over the years. The organic growth also equates to a star-studded event. The motley crew composed of musicians and stars of the stage and screen were all smiles and ready to support a great cause.
Alysia Reiner, most recently of Orange is the New Black, not only lent her celebrity but also served on the benefit committee with partner David Alan Basche.
Tony and Grammy Award nominee, Brandon Victor Dixon was proud to be part of the event. He shared his passion for the mission. SAY is “a cause that provides a supportive developmental environment for kids to become comfortable expressing their thoughts. Stuttering is such an acute issue and it is not always on the top of minds.”
Other celebrities there to support SAY were: James Monroe Iglehart (Genie, Aladdin), Geneva Carr (Needy Margery, Hand to God), Richard Kind, Chef Marc Vetri, Gina Gershon, and Phil Sullivan. Along with kid stars and siblings Sydney Lucas (Small Allison, Fun Home) and Jake Lucas (Peter Pan Live!) had a ball.
As the grateful parent of healthy children, Gregory Jbara, was out to do his part to help other children thrive. Jbara played Garrett Moore on Blue Bloods and has had a long career on Broadway and in TV and film.
As a final order of business before the bowling fun began was a hype circle. SAY’s first celebrity champion, Everett Bradley, who is known as the heart and soul of the percussion for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, gave a beat and Taro lead an inspiring call and response. The room was electric.
Last year the event raised more than $160,000. Final numbers aren’t in but all indicators ensure it was another smashing success.