For the past four years, our granddaughter has shared her love of the theatre by being a mentor in the Penguin Project.® This organization was founded in 2004 by Dr. Andy Morgan to combine his professional expertise with his passion for theater to give children with disabilities an opportunity to experience the performing arts. The project has spread all over the United States and the one location in my state of Minnesota sits in a wonderful performing arts center, Northern Starz in Ramsey, MN. This is the theatre I’ve also been involved with for four years.
There’s something outstanding that happens when this occurs. Children with special needs are being given a chance to shine in a full musical production that shows off their inner actor. The mentors are there to help them with their lines, if necessary, direct them to their spot on stage and be a encouraging support for their penguins. Each one of these kids is unique. Each one brings something magical to the success of a show. Friendships are formed – no one is favored or left out – they all gain by being a part of it.
Our granddaughter will be off to college next month. Because of her compassionate spirit and the experience she has gained through this program, she has as one of her goals to go into special education. She has found her future because of this and even if she changes her mind , she dared to be different in her young life. We’re so proud of her. We’re proud of her accomplishments. We’re also proud that she is willing to put others before herself and give them an opportunity to know the feeling you get when the lights come up and you take center stage.
Not only has she learned some great life lessons, but she’s learned the value of caring about those who would not have this opportunity anywhere else. The devoted staff of the Northern Starz Penguins is also amazing in their time shared with others and for giving us this wonderful venue. Look out world, here they come!