News Release — Church at Prison
April 28, 2014
Sheila Raye Charles, daughter of music legend Ray Charles, will sing and tell her story of recovery from abuse, crack cocaine and prison at a series of performances across Vermont beginning May 2. The series of talks and concerts are being sponsored by the Church at Prison, a Jericho, VT Christian faith-based organization that helps offenders re-integrate into society.
Ms. Charles is one of 12 children born to the legendary singer, who died in 2004. Sexually abused and neglected for years as a child, her descent into drug use cost her custody of five children, and nearly five years in federal prison before her release in 2005. She travels with her husband Michael Steptoe. She will sing and speak at the following venues open to the general public:
- Saturday, May 3 at 10 am at the Lighthouse Christian Church, 3 St. Paul Street, Montpelier at the 20th Annual Conference of The Church at Prison. Admission for the concert is $10 at the door. (Full conference 8am-4:30pm includes continental breakfast, lunch, speakers, workshops (Phill Zaldatte, Prolific Leadership Solutions, Chris Barton, VT DOC Restorative Systems Administrator, ordination ceremony. $25 for full day.)
- 7 pm Thursday, May 8, a public concert at Community Bible Church, 2025 Williston Road, South Burlington. Sponsored by Celebrate Recovery. Donations will be accepted. Celebrate Recovery is a faith-based organization for recovering drug addicts. Ms. Charles has addressed more than 40 chapters nationally.
- 7 pm, Friday, May 9, a public concert at the Enosburg Opera House on Depot St. in Enosburg Falls. Admission is $5 at the door.
- 9 am, Saturday, May 10, at the Teen Challenge breakfast at the Hyde Park VFW on Rte. 15. The local chapter of Teen Challenge has a robust, ongoing program for men in drug addiction. According to Teen Challenge, tickets for the breakfast are priced lower if purchased in advance, but will be available at the door, though seating is limited. For tickets or more information, call Teen Challenge at 635-7807.
- 10 am, Sunday May 11, at Community Bible Church, Williston Road, South Burlington. Attendance is free and open to the public, donations accepted.
In addition to these public gatherings, Ms. Charles will speak and sing to incarcerated women in South Burlington on May 2, and to incarcerated men in Springfield on May 8. She also will meet with state officials May 9.
“It is no secret that Vermont has a serious drug problem,” Church at Prison President Pete Fiske said. “Our state’s leaders are trying very hard to solve it. Ms. Charles, and the many less-well known people who are in recovery as a result of working with Teen Challenge, Celebrate Recovery, and the Church at Prison, are living proof that compassionate, personal Christ-centered treatment really works.”