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Concert, tourney benefit RAINN
Aim to raise awareness of child sexual abuse
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Forsyth County News

If you’re going

* What: Concert4Hope and Hoops4Hope

* When: Concert is 3 p.m. Sunday; basketball tournament is 6 p.m. Monday

* Where: Concert will be held at Hard Rock Café Atlanta, 215 Peachtree St., N.E., Atlanta; basketball tournament will be held at South Forsyth High School

* Cost: $20 for concert; basketball tournament is free to watch

* For more information about both events, go to

SOUTH FORSYTH — A South Forsyth High School freshman and some of her friends are hoping to raise awareness of child sexual abuse through two events in support of RAINN.

Kelsey Hirsch said she got involved with RAINN — which stands for Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network — in 2011 after the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal broke at Penn State University.

“My parents are both Penn State alumni, so they sat me down and they talked to me about it,” Hirsch said. “Once they told about me, my first reaction was what should I do to help?”

Hirsch at that time was approaching her bat mitzvah and decided to make RAINN the focus of the community service component of the Jewish rite of passage.

She and her father, Charles, created Bands4RAINN, a program in which they sell rubber wrist bands to raise funding and awareness for the organization, generating tens of thousands of dollars for RAINN.

Through two special events, Hirsch is hoping to raise even more funding and awareness in the South Forsyth High School community.

On Sunday, the Concert4Courage will be held at the Hard Rock Café in Atlanta.

Doors open at 3 p.m. and the show starts at 4 p.m.

The musical lineup includes recent Forsyth Central graduate Riley Biederer; Mansell, a group made up of students from South, West and Central; and the Time Pilots from the Alpharetta area.

Tickets to the concert are $20 and can be purchase in advance or at the door.

On Monday, Hoops4Hope, a three-on-three basketball tournament, will be held at South.

Ally Welch, one of Hirsch’s friends who is leading the organizing committee for the basketball event, said the tournament is co-ed, so each team must include at least one female player. The minimum age is 13 and there is no maximum age.

Those who wish to play should sign up at Advance tickets to the concert are also available at the site.

Since the topic of sexual violence and abuse can be difficult to handle, Hirsch and Welch said they wanted to offer important information in a light-hearted setting.

“We wanted to create fun ways to spread awareness,” Hirsch said.

“It’s not people sitting down and having someone talk to them about all the statistics,” added Welch. “It’s a fun way we can get everybody together and share the word.”

Hirsch said reaction from her friends to her support of the cause has been mixed, since the issues can be hard for teens to digest.

“Some people think it’s really gross what we’re trying to spread awareness for, and some other people think it’s really necessary to show high schoolers all the statistics to help them learn more about the topic,” Hirsch said.

Her father added that the events have received a lot of support from “celebrities and athletes.”

“The basketball tournament’s actually going to be hosted by Kenny Anderson, former Georgia Tech and NBA player, and he’s bringing his friends Brian Oliver and Dennis Scott, who he played college basketball with,” Charles Hirsch said.

“On the concert side, Jennifer Toof, who was a VH-1 reality star is coming in to host for them.”

Eventually, Hirsch hopes to raise $30,000 for RAINN.

“We don’t have a specific goal for these two events, but the girls are working hard to try to make each one successful enough that the county will want do them again next year and make them better,” Charles Hirsch said.