New York City is a cultural center of the world. Sadly, our children don’t always have access to any arts during their school years. Understanding the importance of an arts education, many professional theaters in New York City have community outreach programs to fill the gaps in our children’s education.
For example, Roundabout theater has invested $1M in educational programming each year. When asked why they do this, Roundabout’s Director of Education, Greg McCaslin gave a compelling answer. 100% of the high school seniors that participate in the program graduate high school – a number much higher than New York City’s overall rate (65.5% in 2011).
The theater in the last decade has expanded its focus to engaging children not only in school, but also out of school and during summertime. Roundabout provides a variety of programs for the children ranging from being in front of the audience to behind the scene. In offering varieties, Roundabout offers opportunities for each children tailored to their strengths and weaknesses. And this opens the children’s eyes to a whole new world of possibilities. It shows the children that there is a lot more than what you see onstage.
“As they become agents in their own lives,” Mr. McCaslin explained, “there’s a whole self-esteem thing that happens.”
We at Arts to Grow understand this sentiment exactly. We see growth in self-esteem and confidence in the kids participating in our theater program. In fact, they are busy rehearsing the Wiz right now. We can’t wait to see the final production!