VAN WERT – Ohio Has Talent! will showcase 17 local and area acts on Saturday.

Kim Mason, event coordinator at Community Health Professionals, talked about the benefits the show has on those who need the most help.

“The money always go back into our patient care fund,” said Mason “I always emphasize with all of them [performers] that they’re giving up their talent and they don’t know who, down the road, is gonna get this type of care because they gave up their time.”

All the ticket money goes to the CHP patient care fun, excluding a slight percent that the Niswonger Performing Arts Center keeps for its handling fee.

“All of the prize money, the rental cost of the PAC, is all covered by sponsors,” said Mason. “So when somebody buys a ticket, it’s not going to prize money, it’s going straight into the patient care fund.”

For the first few years, the money went to help out the financial building cost of the Impatient Care Center, but now the building is completed, the money all goes towards the Hospice Patient Care Fund. The Impatient Care Center was built around nine years ago.

The Hospice Patient Care Fund provides home health and hospice services to individuals who are not able to provide care for themselves or who may not have the funds to do so. Community Health Professionals is a nonprofit agency and relies on donations and fundraising, such of that of Ohio Has Talent!, to continue giving support and assistance to those in need. They do not deny care to any individual due to lack of financial resources. Ohio Has Talent! has been a huge help in allowing them to raise money for the patient care fund.

“Sometimes people come in and their medicines are several thousand dollars a day,” said Mason. “That money helps to cover what we don’t get reimbursed for so that we can stay non-profit, so that we don’t have to turn people away.”

Mason said that hospice not only sees the elderly but children as well, noting that within their first year, they had lost a 15-month-old baby. Mason said that the average age they see is around 48 years old, noting that many people may not be aware of the young ages of people they care for.

For Mason personally, she’s enjoyed being a part of Ohio Has Talent!, stating that she worked as a music teacher for 14 years at Delphos Jefferson and also sings in the well-known local Christian group, Trinity. While working at CHP and doing OHT, Mason has been able to combine her love for music with her love for helping others.

“I came out of teaching because I wanted to do more of that [caring for others], and I got a job here as a social worker,” said Mason. “I also go out and do music ministry where I go out and visit hospice patients and sing to them.”

Ohio Has Talent! is an audience-based vote. This means that there will be an insert in the program that will allow the audience to vote for who they feel should win and turn it in. The CHP finance department will collect the ballots and calculate them and then the winner will be announced by the end of the night.

The first-prize winner will receive $1,000; second place will receive $500 and third will receive $250. There will also be two honorable mentions. Although the reward is monetary and will not necessarily guarantee the winners will advance their talent to a bigger audience or place, Ohio Has Talent! does put their performances online so that they have the opportunities to be seen by producers or record labels.

Each year, Mason and other qualified individuals judge around 30-60 acts to determine who has what it takes to go on to perform in front of the Ohio Has Talent! audience.

The Niswonger Performing Arts Center is hosting Ohio Has Talent! on Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets are available through the NPAC box office or through Community Health Professionals.

Ohio Has Talent helps raise funds for the Community Health Professionals Hospice Patient Care Fund so that they can continue to help those in need in the community.