Ricky Martin raises money in Germany for kids

AP News
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Posted: Nov 19, 2009 1:53 PM

Latin superstar Ricky Martin said Thursday he is teaming up with a German broadcaster to support his foundation and build a youth center for children in his native Puerto Rico.

Multi-Grammy winning artist Martin told The AP he is joining RTL on a telethon to raise money to build the center in Loiza, near the capital, San Juan.

"The idea is to build a center, a safe haven for children that are at risk of exploitation, which is the main mission of my foundation."

The RTL telethon Thursday and Friday is also raising money for other international and German children's charities.

The center in Loiza will be able to accommodate 150 children and will offer them art classes, meditation, martial arts and yoga, Martin said. It has been designed by University of Puerto Rico architecture students, and construction is to get under way next year.

"It's just to show them another aspect of life they don't know because of the way that they live," he said, adding that the town has a 50 percent dropout rate in its schools.

"We need to show them the beauty of having a dignified life."

The "Livin' La Vida Loca" singer said his own twin boys, born in 2008 to a surrogate mother, would be regulars at the center themselves.

Martin said it would be valuable for the boys, Valentino and Matteo, to be able to mix with other people who had different lives.

"They're 16-month-old beautiful boys. They're healthy and surrounded by love. I learn something from them every day."

Martin said his Ricky Martin Foundation, founded in 2004, is also working on other projects like helping victims of human trafficking.

"Thousands of children are trafficked around the world," he said. "This isn't necessarily a problem of poverty but an issue of values. It's the slavery of a new era and I hope to abolish it."

Martin said he'd be back in Germany on a tour next September. He's currently in the studio working on a new album and expects a single as well as a book he's working on to be released next spring.

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Ricky Martin Foundation: http://www.rickymartinfoundation.org