This post by Jennifer Flaten
My oldest daughter is involved in our local civic theatre’s production of Annie Jr. What makes this particular show special is that it is a joint effort between the civic theatre and the Penguin Project.
The Penguin Project is children’s theatre program that casts special needs and disabled children in all the roles. The actors are paired with a peer mentor that works on stage with them to help with lines, dance steps or anything else the actor might need.
The programs is all volunteers from the mentors, like my daughter, to the crew, directors and choreographers. The whole crew has been hard at work since January to prepare for the show.
Tonight is “Preview Night” where family and special guests get to see the show before it opens tomorrow night.
I am so proud of my daughter for being a part of this organization. I remember when she first told me she was interested in participating is this show. We attended the first meeting and I was just amazed at the turnout of not only actors, but mentors.
As any parent can tell you, it is always gratifying to see your child working with their peers in a cooperative, helpful, empowering way. So many times, as parents we see our kids interacting only with their siblings. And, as anyone with siblings can tell you that is often not the best representation of your kid (as they slap fight over who gets the last piece of cake or refuse to lift a finger to help their sibling).
So, we as parents wonder if our kids are capable of compassion and thoughtfulness. They definitely are!
I hope you get the opportunity to have a Penguin Project production in your community.
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