Published: Aug 04, 2012 9:48 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 05, 2012 9:41 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. - After a violent beginning to the year, the Dunbar community is rising above the crime and focusing on those who shine. 

The first-annual Rise Above Talent Extravaganza was held at the Riverside Community Center.  More than 20 performers and groups took the stage.  They said it's a way to take the attention away from the negative and focus on the positive.

"Perception is reality.  Perception is that in Fort Myers and Dunbar community that crime is the highest thing on the agenda, but it really isn't," said Master of Ceremony, Lee Pitts.

"Our community is not all bad and we wanted to use the young people to showcase their talents showing that there are positives in our community," said event coordinator, Frederick Morgan.

Organizers of the first-annual talent show said the event was a thank you to those members of the community who are dedicated to helping kids achieve their goals.

"You start to dream, you dream about what you can become, you see positive role models," said Pitts.

World boxing champion, Tiara Brown, was a featured speaker.

"I went to Fort Myers High School and I was on the basketball team, track, cross country, I did it all.  The more activities I would do, the more I wouldn't be out in the streets," Brown said, "Kids see me and see I'm an athlete.  But you know I went to college.  I have a degree."

Dance coach, Charlene Edward, says involvement in the arts keeps kids focused and out of trouble.

"I know that they're safe and they're getting educational social skills, and things like that.  They work really hard, they're good kids," Edward said.

More than 200 audience members attended the event and showed their support.  Organizers are hoping to make this an annual back-to-school event.