Paul and I had the privilege of attending this wonderful show yesterday with our son, daughter & family. We have been limited in our venturing out this year, so it was an extra special treat. Our granddaughter has served as a mentor in this program since it began five years ago. This is a nationwide program, but the only one in Minnesota at this time. It is designed to give children with special needs an opportunity to spread their wings and fly. The Penguin Project is designed to teach these special kids that they are capable of more than they think they can do. They can fly, unlike real penguins, when given the opportunity to do so. Each child is assigned a mentor to work with during the rehearsal process and they work hand in hand to accomplish that flight. Soar the do, as they reach for the stars and heights, they never dreamed possible.
The tale as old as time – a story of love, compassion, looking beyond the outer shell and into the heart was amazing. I can’t think of another word to describe it, because it truly was. Kids who might never have had a chance to experience an on-stage performance, were delightful to watch in costumes that matched all the splendor of the lighting and scenery. Dedicated staff continue to believe in this project and will for many years to come. Tears welled in my eyes as my heart overflowed with emotional response. Each of the mentors appeared onstage with their penguin. Most of them hid behind them or appeared to be part of the scenery, because they were simply there to assist if necessary. The relationships that develop from this program are awesome too. Friendships that will last forever. I am proud to say that being involved in the Penguin Project has stirred my granddaughter’s desire to go into special education.
I am so proud of this little theatre. It’s kind of like the mouse that roared. It is a non-profit organization. In its short existence, it has become a wonderful source for all ages (even old ones like me) to enjoy theatre, perform, volunteer, build community, learn, teach and be a part of the performing arts. We all need to spread our wings at some point in this lifetime. Thank you, Northern Starz Center for Performing Arts for making it possible for so many.
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
― Leonardo da Vinci