Twin Cedars kicks of Behind the Mask with Twelfth Night Celebration

Published 6:32 pm Monday, January 7, 2019

On Friday night, community leaders gathered to kick off Behind the Mask with Twin Cedars’ Twelfth Night Celebration.

The annual fundraiser provides a large portion of the funding needed to support Twin Cedars Youth and Family Services programs, which aim to help children and families in the community.

“Twin Cedars many years ago decided to use Mardi Gras as a fun way to raise money for the programs at Twin Cedars,” said Jennifer Shawa, director of development and marketing for Twin Cedars. “So, for years now, we’ve invited leaders from the community to run for King of Mask and Queen of Mask, and then we have a big party at the end.”

In addition to raising funds, the annual event also raises awareness for Twin Cedars programs

“The job of those who serve on the royal court is to be ambassadors out in the community on behalf of the children that are served by Twin Cedars,” Shawa said. “So, during the month of January starting with Twelfth Night … they are bringing the community in. They are asking you to support the programs at Twin Cedars so that children that we serve who have been victimized and traumatized and need a safe place to heal can have the funding that they need to receive those resources.”

Many former king and queen candidates also attended the celebration to show their support. While some of the candidates were involved with Twin Cedars years before their candidacy, for others, the campaign was an opportunity to learn about what Twin Cedars does.

“This program is amazing because the year that I ran for king, I knew absolutely nothing about Twin Cedars, and I am ashamed to say that,” said Dale Jackson, a past King of Mask. “But, it did what it was supposed to do, and I learned about Safe Families [for Children]. I think that if you want to run for king or queen, if you want to help raise money, the number one thing you can do is become passionate about one thing that Twin Cedars does.”

All of the candidates spoke on their reasons for running on Friday. Those reasons included everything from honoring longtime Twin Cedars board members to recognizing the organization’s work in the community. 

However, the common thread that ran through the evening was the recognition of what Twin Cedars does for the children and families that depend on it.

“There is not a program at Twin Cedars that I don’t like,” said Mike Angstadt, a candidate for King of Mask and former Twin Cedars executive director. “Safe Families is powerful, but so is the advocacy center and the Bradfield Center and all the work and education that we provide. So, no matter who wins, I think the kids are going to win, and the families are going to win.”

Candidates for 2019 King of Mask are Christopher Adams, Angstadt, Derwin Brewer and Mike Speight. Candidates for 2019 Queen of Mask are Janice Brewer, Maiya Dowell, Katie Jones, Laura Jones, Shenequa Killingsworth and Patricia Rogers. Several candidates announced plans to host fundraisers for Twin Cedars in January, including a bake sale, a benefit concert, a gospel celebration and a barbecue. 

The Behind the Mask celebration, where the winners will be announced, will take place on Feb. 2 at the Del’avant Event Center. The winners will be the candidates who won earned the most votes with $1 equaling on vote.

To vote for a candidate and support Twin Cedars, visit More information on Twin Cedars and the celebration can also be found on the group’s Facebook page.