Rise Up! A Baltimore Homeless Teen Gets National Recognition

Homeless Baltimore teen Jayna Brown sings "Rise Up" on America's Got Talent and receives an amazing response.

Homeless Baltimore teen Jayna Brown sang “Rise Up” on America’s Got Talent and received an amazing response.

At My Brother’s Keeper, we do our best to stress the importance of youth programs and community support. Inspiring young people to follow their dreams and take an active role in their futures – regardless of their own conditions of poverty, education, and lifestyle – can change the world and improve the quality of life for generations to come. Let’s discuss why a Baltimore homeless teen is receiving national recognition and praise from the public.

America’s Got Talent: Baltimore Homeless Teen Takes the Stage

Last week, a 14-year-old Baltimorean named Jayna Brown took the stage of the popular hit show America’s Got Talent to face five superstar judges in hopes that her musical talent would be enough to advance her to the next stage of the competition. In her story, she revealed that both her and her mother, “are currently staying with friends and family because we don’t have our own home.” In regards to the competition, Jayna said, “I feel like it’s an opportunity to give back to my mom.”

A shaky, nervous Jayna sang her version of Andra Day’s song “Rise Up” and received a standing ovation from the audience (video below). Her song choice is important, as it included lyrics such as: “I’ll rise up / I’ll rise unafraid / And I’ll do it a thousand times again … In spite of the ache” and “All we need, all we need is hope / And for that we have each other / We will rise.”

Jayna Brown Receives Golden Buzzer: Why it Matters

Each season, only nine lucky contestants receive what America’s Got Talent refers to as the “Golden Buzzer” – a buzzer that, when hit, unleashes gold confetti on stage and guarantees the auditioner an immediate spot at the upcoming live shows. Judge and One Direction star Louis Tomlinson hit the buzzer for Jayna and said, “It’s not just one thing with you. It’s not just the voice, it’s not just the performance. You have everything.”

This week, Jayna opened the America’s Got Talent live show with her performance of Ed Sheeran’s “Make it Rain” and was one of the 7 contestants (out of 12) who made it through to the next show. As a homeless Baltimore teen, Jayna’s story matters because it represents opportunity despite poverty, perseverance despite cultural struggles, and true hope despite despair. Mothers and children make up over a quarter of the homeless population in Baltimore, and it’s essential that we provide assistance to these mothers and children so they can continue to encourage one another to rise above poverty and seek true success and happiness.

Talk to My Brother’s Keeper About Helping

To learn more about our youth programs, how to help, or to find out more about our services including hot meal programs, employment assistance, health services and identifying possible emergency shelter, call MBK today at 410-644-3194. You can also follow our official MBK page on Google+, Pinterest,Twitter, and Facebook, to stay up to date on our center’s progress and upcoming events in the community.

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