Editor’s note: At times we will feature some stories, testimonies, or words of affirmation about our programs straight from the mouths of the folks who participate: our kids, youth, teens, and parents/caregivers! This first installment is a transcript from our recent Winter Sort of Thing: 10 Year Anniversary Celebration. Joseph and Thomas both shared to the audience what participating in Winter Sort of Thing and Yes! And… Collaborative Arts’ other programs has meant to them. Currently, Thomas is working for us as an After School Group assistant teacher and Joseph is part of our high school Shadow Company in their Core Leadership. We are proud to have them speak on our behalf!
Joseph: I’m a sports guy. I like to play. And when I was 12 (and taking myself pretty seriously) my mom sent me to theatre camp instead of basketball camp… This was not my kind of people. They made messes. And imagined. And danced. They were silly. But geez could they wear a man down. They were relentless, and not just the teachers. The other kids too. They forced me to become friends. To join in, to make my own messes. I learned to act and dance and sing. They basically gave me no choice but to join Winter Sort of Thing. And this is where I learned how to work hard. I thought I already knew what practice was from sports, but I had no idea. And what I figured out is: I really like to work hard. I like trying again. To get back up. I learned I don’t want to settle. And how to be myself, and who “myself” really is.
Thomas: Good evening. I hope you have enjoyed the show thus far. My name is Thomas and I am currently in school to become a video game designer. When I was a kid my dream was to the first black president. Someone messed that up for me. I’m not complaining too much. Also when I was little, my mom found Yes! And… Collaborative Arts. I started going to camps and in a few years joined Winter Sort of Thing. I blame them entirely… (I mean I loved epic stories before Yes! And…) but i didn’t realize that could be me. That I could author. That I could shape. My story, a story, the story. And then I could give that to others – I could inspire. Spark. I have a long way to go, and bunch challenges I still have to face. But when I am a millionaire, I’m going to park a truckload of money on these people. It will be the sweetest revenge. Until then, I’m counting on you.
Joseph: I have to work hard. Harder than others. But most of the time. (Most of it.) I don’t mind, because I’m with my people. Doing this.