Local musicians, local youth from Latimer and Pittsburg Counties, and students from Kiamichi Technology Center (KTC) in McAlester have joined with Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) Foster Care and Adoption Recruitment to create a musical video to help raise awareness about the need for more foster and adoptive homes in Oklahoma.

The video, which will be shared on social media platforms, is being officially launched at a community celebration and concert on Thursday, July 8th from 5-7 p.m. in the large seminar room on the south side of the KTC McAlester campus at 301 Kiamichi Drive.

The video, entitled “I Wish” was inspired by a song of the same title by Wilburton recording artists and International Music and Entertainers Association award winners, the Captain Ledge Band, fronted by Cliff and Jeana Downing.

The Downings generously agreed to allow OKDHS Recruitment to use their song in the video project, and they will be playing a live mini-concert during the launch event on July 8th. Opening for them, will be 14 year-old recording artist and Native American Music Award nominee, Ava Rose Johnson of Eufaula, who also appeared in the video.

Melissa Heath-Lee, from the OKDHS Region IV South Recruitment Unit, under the Supervision of Jarrod Ridenour, designed the video project and approached KTC instructor Susie Hass about working with her EAST (Education Accelerated by Service and Technology) students to create the video. 2021 Wilburton High School and KTC EAST graduate, Kaitlyn Rigsby, was the Project Manager, assisted by EAST students, Jacob Harvey of McAlester, and Brookelyne Marco and Jessica Sennett of Indianola.

Shoots for the video were conducted at two area schools, using students, as well as two local drama teachers, Nicole Green of McAlester High School and Megan Muncy of Red Oak High School. Other McAlester High School students appearing in the video are: Madison Benjamin, James Briggs, Ashley Cathey, Candice Cox Hearon, Kaitlynn McGuire, Jadyn McKelvey, Jacob Plaxico, and Timmy Sims.

Red Oak students appearing in the video are: Catherine Baldwin, Asher Kauk, Trever Lyons, Isabella Muncy, Lillyanne Muncy, Riley Sumpter, and Isaiah TheBoy.

Other participants include: Bryson Horstman and Hunter Horstman of Wilburton; John Patrick Muller, Koen Muller, and Lily Muller of Kiowa; Hendrix Steen of Durant; and Brett Matthews, Ginger Matthews, Marlowe Matthews, Mason Matthews, Merritt Matthews, and Mirryn Matthews of Prosper, Texas.

The launch event is free and open to the public, and there will be snacks provided, as well as information, giveaways, and door prizes offered by over a dozen area organizations, companies, and local resource providers. In addition, the first 100 people or families arriving at the event will receive a limited-edition, video-themed, canvas bag.

For questions or more information about the event, contact Melissa Heath-Lee at 918-839-5893 or Melissa.heath-lee@okdhs.org.

For more information on Foster Care or Adoption in Oklahoma, contact Heath-Lee, go online to OKBenefits.org, or visit an informational booth at the launch event. In addition to OKDHS, representatives will be on site from some private foster care agencies, including St. Francis, HomeBased Services, and Circle of Care.

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