When Jackie Bell invited many, many children over many nights in February of 2020 (yes right before the Pandemic) we jumped at the chance and got as many kids there as we could. One night, Ben Stiller was there visiting a cast member who was a friend. Jackie was kind enough to ask if he would take pictures of just our kids after taking cast photos with him. He obliged and was super duper kind! THANKS SO MUCH. The kids are still talking about meeting you. Memories will travel wherever our kids go! It meant the world to us!
AND THE CAST TOOK AMAZING CARE OF OUR VISITING GIRLS!
When Jackie Bell fell in love with our kids, she made sure we got to visit the AMAZING MUSICAL EMOJILAND! We had the best time ever. She spoke with our group at the beginning and treated us to a VIP ending. The kids loved it so much! You know we can’t show their faces but here is some audio during intermission when we asked a few of the boys how they liked the show:
We get to go again next week! Jackie said the entire company felt honored to have our kids visit the show that they work so hard to perform!
The drummer of the show fell in love with one of our very bouncy boys and has given him a drum practice-kit to take to his new foster home. The drummer remembers being a bouncy, rhythmic child and wanted to encourage our little guy to try the drums. Can you believe it?
What an AMAZING outcome for all of us. Not only does a group of children get a bonding super-fun experience, but one of them will have a surprise gift sent to his new foster home. But also, a whole show-biz family now knows how special our children are and will most likely encourage more opportunities for foster children everywhere! How magical is that?
Thank you to Jackie Bell and all the folks at EMOJILAND! GO SEE THIS SHOW. It’s a winner.
FOLLOWUP REPORT: One of our younger boys was jumping around excitedly TO the music the entire show. The drummer, who could see our little guy, stopped me and asked if he could give him a set of drum sticks because he related to the boy’s energy. Giancarlo De Trizio saw himself in our little boy and wrote him a note and gave it to our guy! (who btw is the one on the audio file above!) Here’s our hero:
WELCOME TO OUR FOURTH ANNUAL TOY DRIVE IN NYC FOR KIDS IN FOSTER CARE!
Each Year we collect toys from Thanksgiving until the first week in January. Our aim is to scoop up the good feelings of “giving” and “toys” during this time of year and reach out for toy donations! But we give them to the children all year long! Here’s why! When a child gets pulled out of his or hers or their home … they often go to the children’s center while waiting for a foster family to be found for them. Mostly they are in crisis, scared and sad. We tell the child to choose a toy for themselves and often it provides a respite of a few minutes of happiness in what is often the worst day of their life. Our kids stay at the center sometimes just overnight but sometimes a family isn’t found for them for weeks or months or even years.
There are two drop off locations and you have until January 2nd 2020! You can even go on Amazon or any department store and send toys to:
Foster Your Dream Toy Drive 36 West 44th Street New York, NY 10036
or: Signature Theatre att: Foster Your Dream Toy Drive 480 West 42nd Street New York NY 10036
Thanks to you, it grows daily. Almost hourly! When we first started we even got noticed by NYC Commissioner David A. Hansell! Thanks for your kind letter.
It is only Mid-December and we’ve already collected over 150 toys and! Thank you to Scott and Sandra and Janet and Angela and Mark and Ken and Burton and Colleen. You are the engine that drives this collection. Last year we were able to give toys out for HALF a year at the Children’s Center. Each year we strive to get a little bit bigger. It’s so fun. Toys must be new and unwrapped. Super expensive toys are not the best idea. Also no clothing (ACS rules!) Something smile-provoking a child can take with them on their journey thru the foster care system and put a smile on their face … that is the best kind of gift you can give us during this holiday season. THANKS TO ALL!
YOU SOUND LIKE A GIRL started by our dear friend from the Signature Theatre Days, Colleen Hughes, brought her amazing show to the ACS Theatre! There was a cast of 5 amazing she/her/hers identifying actors who shared very personal stories for an hour at the Children’s Center.
Thanks to all the amazing performers.
You Sound Like a Girl Created and directed by: Colleen E. Hughes Written and performed by: Sara Jane Munford, Alessandra Ruiz, Alexandria Smalls, and Rev. Yolanda Produced by: Emily Rose Prats Dramaturgy by: Rachel Levens
Colleen E. Hughes(she/her/hers) is a Brooklyn based director and arts administrator, and creator of You Sound Like a Girl. Her select directing credits include, What Screams I Hear are Mine by Annalise Cain (reading, The Tribe Theatre Company), The Shapes We Make With Our Bodies by Meg Whiteford (The Hive), Jelly Bean Junkyard by Sean Pollock (Under St. Marks), Chatroom by Enda Walsh (The Hive), Let Them Eat Cake by Ted Malawer (TinyRhino), and Disco Pigs by Enda Walsh (A.R.T.’s Oberon). Her assisting credits include 12th Night by William Shakespeare, directed by Shira Millikowsky (A.R.T. Institute) and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, directed by Phil Soltanoff (Skidmore College). Colleen studied directing at the National Theatre Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and theater at Skidmore College. www.colleenehughes.com
Sara Jane Munford(she/her/hers) is a multimedia performance artist, designer and puppeteer based in Brooklyn, New York. She is the resident set designer and puppet captain of Little Did Productions. Currently, Sara Jane is working on birth/control/project, a community based art making process and art installation intended to create a space to empower female identifying participants in the pursuit of autonomy over their bodies. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alessandra Ruiz(she/her/hers) is a NY Latina actress who moved from Los Angeles this January. She graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a B.A. in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Devised/Physical Theatre. She begun her NYC debuts working with projects performed at the Gene Frankel Theatre and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. She wants to use theatre to open up minds and hearts for a better understanding society. Alessandra believes theatre is a powerful art form that can truly help make a change. Alessandra is very excited to be creating with the “”You Sound Like a Girl”” cast and crew and hopes to empower women everywhere. www.alessandraruiz.com
Alexandria Joesica Smalls(she/her/hers) is an actor, writer and director who hails from Brooklyn, NY. She has an AS in theater from BMCC and a BA in Drama and Africana Studies with a focus on Prison Studies. She is an activist with a passion for social justice issues and uses her creative work to explore difficult conversations on topics such as race, economic inequality, and education.
Rev. Yolanda(she/her/hers) is a singer/songwriter/trans-femme genderqueer performance artist and interfaith minister, originally from Muscle Shoals Alabama- The Hit Recording Capital Of The World. Rev. Yolanda and husband Rev. Glen Ganaway are the founders of the monthly “spiritual happening” Church With A 2 Drink Minimum. Rev. Yolanda’s ministry and body of musical work has been captured on film by Avaiya Media with the movie “”Rev. Yolanda’s Old Time Gospel Hour”” (available on Amazon), and has been honored with induction into the The GLBT Hall Of Fame, the Blues Hall of Fame, and two MAC Awards. (MAC-Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs). Rev. Yolanda is currently working on a full length, autobiographical musical theater piece entitled “The Church Of The Alien Love Child Presents: The Passion of Rev. Yolanda.”
Emily Rose Prats(she/her/hers) came to NY more than a decade ago to get her BFA in Drama from NYU/Tisch. Since then, she’s produced an EP, performed Shakespeare, voiced commercials, taught music to children, and now works in marketing for startups. She believes in theatre as a teaching tool and hopes You Sound Like a Girl can empower women and girls to stop internalizing misogyny and make themselves heard. Follow her adventures on insta @the_gremily and/or offer to publish her children’s book.Rachel Levens(she/her/hers) is a Brooklyn based new play director, dramaturg, and applied theater artist. Rachel’s directing has been seen at La MaMa, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, United Solo, The Tank, Dixon Place, Hudson Guild, and The International Human Rights Festival at The Wild Project. Her dramaturgy work has ranged from production dramaturgy, new play development, literature performance, and dance dramaturgy. She is the resident dramaturg for The Holding Project, a dance company based in Portland, Oregon. Rachel holds a BFA in Theater with an emphasis in Original Works from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA.
Thanks to the Hope-a-holics we were able to send 38 young people to see GLORIA: A life!
As usual, these are not our foster kids (we can not show their faces due to legal reasons) but we are joining 4 different audiences and they all look somewhat similar to this. I promise! 🙂 It’s an amazing fast paced play about Gloria Steinem and it wowed everyone to see how far we’ve come in such a short time and how little we’ve come in such a short time!
Every show invites a celebrity or two and Gloria herself has been known to show up! One of our matinee groups got to see Karlie Klaus the super-model. She’s super tall and was super kind in talking to everyone in the audience who wanted to! She even allowed some selfies. Obviously those two women below are not foster kids! But you get the picture! 🙂
When a group of lovely ladies who don’t want any recognition at all, crocheted 38 sets of hats and scarves and packed them with love in baggies and red tissue paper and sent them to us….we were over the moon with joy. What tells a child more than a hand made warm-and-cuddly item, that someone is thinking of them? Really nothing! 🙂
As usual we can’t show you any faces …. but we think this picture is worth a thousand words.