This article has been updated to include a summary of the contesr, the amount of money raised, and what the money will be used for.
Spreading sunshine comes second nature to Days of our Lives alum Jen Lilley (ex-Theresa Donovan), who is continuing to bring good into the world via two new special projects: a talent contest and brand new album.
The Hallmark star's talent contest is called Voices That Give, and it's a worldwide competition designed to help artists of all genres and experience levels showcase their true talent as well as help orphans and children in foster care.
"I truly believe everyone was created on purpose and with a purpose with unique talents and gifts," Lilley says of the competition. "Whether you're an incredible singer who needs a chance to be discovered, an actor hoping to grace the heart of television, a chef who dreams of launching your own food truck, an entrepreneur who needs startup capital and press to catapult your brand, or just someone who could really use the cash and would love the recognition and wants an opportunity to help kids in need, I want to make your dreams a reality and give you the honor of helping others simply by dreaming big and spreading the word."
Legendary singer Gloria Gaynor also shared news about the competition, tweeting, "If you've always wanted to be a singer, have I got good news for you! My friend, Jen Lilley, has created an online talent contest called Voices That Give. The grand prize is $10,000 plus national media coverage for you and your music. And the best part about this contest is that 100% of the profits will help children in foster care."
My friend @jen_lilley created a talent competition called #VoicesThatGive ! The grand prize is $10K + national media coverage! 100% of the profit helps children in #fostercare ! Visit https://t.co/6cMRmflJr9 to enter & RT tagging friends who have talent as well so they can enter! pic.twitter.com/jp9fvo7HAQ— Gloria Gaynor (@gloriagaynor) May 8, 2020
Fans who are interested in entering the competition should make a YouTube video showcasing their talent -- whether it's acting, singing, dancing, cooking, modeling, standup comedy, or even just being a huge Hallmark or Jen Lilley fan! The sky is the limit, and all talents are welcome.
Official voting begins June 1, but participants can collect power votes now by sharing their link on social media and inviting more people to join in. Check out the video below to see the detailed submission process.
In addition to hosting Voices That Give, Lilley is preparing for the release of her new album, titled Lilley. The actress has been hard at work on the album for the last three years and has even given fans a sneak peek of the fun tunes to come. And the best part is, all of the proceeds from her album will be going to charity.
"I love paying it forward, and I love conscious consumerism. I decided to take all my income in music, since I'm already an actress, and I decided to give it to children in need," she tells Digital Journal. "We decided to release an album for charity and we are doing it. The album is being released by the #VoicesThatGive contest."
Lilley has a long history of advocating for children in foster care and has even adopted two kids that she began fostering. She recently launched a weekly podcast called Fostering Hope, which aims to help normalize and support adoptive families, foster ethical practices, and champion for safe, loving families for children in need.
UPDATE (July 27, 2020): Jen Lilley is thrilled to share that her Voices That Give talent competition was able to raise $50,000 to help over 429,000 children who are in the United States foster care system.
"Here in the United States, 50% of our homeless population came from foster care, 72% of our incarcerated came from foster care, and upwards of 98% of our human trafficking victims have ties to foster care," Lilley states. "But we stood up to them and together we fundraised over $50,000 to change those statistics and break the cycle of abuse."
The actress shares that this incredible fundraising sum is just "the beginning of something we're building together," and she will keep fans informed of her next steps -- one of which includes going to Washington, DC, this week with Dr. John DeGarmo, foster care expert and founder and director of The Foster Care Institute, to lobby for a healthier reunification process to strengthen families, children, and their caretakers.
"It would mean the world to me if you would take a moment to sign my petition... to tell your local and state representatives that the children in your area matter to you," she shares.
For more information and to sign Lilley's Change.org petition, click here.
What do you think about Jen Lilley hosting a talent competition and releasing an album? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.