Thirteen-year-old Samantha Dorsi drew lots of applause Wednesday evening at Subway World Headquarters when she sang several songs at the annual United Way of Milford Community Appeal kickoff.

https://youtu.be/LHPlDx6Fwb4

Samantha, soon to be 14, is from North Haven and has been singing in public already for several years.

Her performance Wednesday night included “And I Am Telling You,” from the movie Dreamgirls.

Former Speaker of the House James Amann introduced Samantha to Diane and Tony Candido, co-chairs of this year’s United Way appeal, and they secured the teenager to perform at the fundraising kickoff. The United Way hopes to raise $950,000 this year to support its partner agencies in Milford.

Amann knows Samantha’s grandfather, former Sen. Bruce Morris. When Morris gave Amann and his LA Productions Co. a CD of his granddaughter singing, Amann said it sat for a week before he listened to it.

Amann was in his car, driving, when he put in the CD. “I pulled over,” Amann said. “She’s great.”

Samantha was the star of the event Wednesday night. The planned featured speaker, actor and Americans with Disabilities Act advocate Joe Genera, was not able to make the event, leaving Samantha at center stage.

The teenager thanked the United Way officials for inviting her to perform.

Samantha is also scheduled to perform at the United Way’s fundraising event, Magic of Motown, Friday, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Tickets are $40. For information call United Way at 203-874-6791.

Check back for more coverage of the United Way's fundraising goals at its fundraising kickoff event.