“The Voice” coach and “American Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson has been highlighting and donating to local charities and organizations throughout the country in her Good Neighbor of The Year segment for months. In her latest segment, she invited local Pittsburgh journalists from Action News 4 to her show to share the story of an organization, and they chose the Homeless Children’s Education Fund, or HCEF.
See Kelly’s full interview with Action News 4’s Kelly Sasso, HCEF executive director AJ Jefferson, and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris below.
Kelly Clarkson Gives $10,000 to Homeless Children’s Education Fund
In the interview, Kelly Sasso explained that Action News 4 nominated the Homeless Children’s Education Fund for Kelly Clarkson’s Good Neighbor of The Year segment because of their excellent success in helping local students and families gain access to resources. Sasso mentions that students who receive aid from the HCEF have a 90% high school graduation rate.
“There is a really direct correlation between getting your high school and ending up without housing and stability in the future,” Sasso says, “so kids who aren’t graduating have a much greater chance of ending up in a homeless situation, and so their work is really breaking the cycle.”
AJ Jefferson elaborates on the services the HCEF provides, including school supplies, tutors, college and career planning, social workers, internships, and a $2,500 award for any student in their programs seeking post-secondary education, which goes directly to the student to be used at their discretion.
Clarkson is appreciative of the work the HCEF is doing and talks about how homelessness is an issue throughout the country.
“When people think, ‘Oh it doesn’t directly impact me’, I’m like, ‘Yes it does’,” Clarkson said, “If you live in a community where housing is an issue, and affordable housing, it’s your problem, you just aren’t seeing how it’s your problem.”
Viewers also hear from NFL star Najee Harris, a supporter and advocate for the HCEF who faced homelessness in his youth, on why the organization is close to his heart, as well as Michael, a college graduate who received assistance from the HCEF. Clarkson then presents the HCEF with $10,000 from Scholastic, as well as $5,000 worth of books.
Action News 4 Goes Behind the Scenes of ‘Kelly Clarkson Show’
Pittsburgh Action News 4’s Kelly Sasso took viewers behind the scenes of her and the HCEF’s AJ Jefferson’s visit to “The Kelly Clarkson Show”.
Sasso and Jefferson admitted backstage that they were nervous but excited to share the HCEF’s story with “Kelly Clarkson Show” audiences, and that neither of them had been on a daytime talk show like this before.
After taping their segment, Sasso got to stick around and turn the tables on host Kelly Clarkson by interviewing her for the audience. Sasso asked Clarkson why she chose HCEF for her Good Neighbor of The Year segment, which will have viewers vote on one of the organizations highlighted to win a larger prize.
“People don’t realize it’s a great idea, yes, and it’s awesome that it’s happening in the community,” Clarkson said of the organization, “but this same kind of formula can be implemented in other communities.”