A message from our Founder and Artistic Director Jean Isaac: As a child, I grew up in a youth theater group that truly helped define me. As the awkward middle child, I was the last of my sisters to enter the theater group, but I was also the last to leave. I found myself lost in the world of theater, and I didn’t want to get out.
Through theater I was able to find the confidence I needed to express myself artistically, which helped me in school, my first job, and even as a parent.
I knew I wanted the same experience for my own children and that theater would help them in school, and give them confidence among their friends. After putting on a play at the elementary school, many of their friends were asking for more. During this time, I watched my kids and their friends grow into confident students who loved being on stage. It made me realize that kids need to have theater consistently in their lives. The arts have been all but eradicated from school curriculum, and yet the performing arts and music is what we need for our kids, now, more than ever.
Over the years, I have watched hundreds of kids grow up with theater in their lives. It touches me in a way that I can’t even describe. So many kids that I have worked with through the years are now living in New York, pursuing theater, attending prestigious universities, and living their dreams. To know that, through YAT, we are making a difference in our students’ lives, is the most rewarding experience of all.
Running a non-profit has its challenges. There is a constant struggle for funding, and sometimes at the end of the day, I just don’t know how it will all work out. But then I receive an email from a parent, telling me how much their child’s life has been changed because of YAT, and I know then, that it is worthwhile. That all the struggles we face are nothing, when we know we are making a difference. To watch a student light up when they are on stage, and become gifted performers as they grow, is something that you can’t even explain. My heart fills with pride and joy. I feel like I am the luckiest person in the world, because in addition to my own children, I have dozens and dozens of children.
Please help us continue to provide a safe place for kids to pursue their dreams through theater, and make life long friends along the way.
Jean M. Isaac