Fantasy Stories Fulfill Dreams
I walked into the auditorium to a full house of students being entertained by a troupe of wonderful professional actors who were performing a short play that was actually written by one of our residents. The story itself was inspired by the recent Twilight vampire trilogy and, as a result, it was filled with characters who are part werewolf subject to magic spells. It was filled with suspense, intrigue, humor, and triumph. At the end of the performance our Harry Potter look-a-like “playwright” rose from his seat to receive the applause from the assembly.
For a child who has learning challenges, with a tendency to be withdrawn and easily internalizes the disappointments and hurts he has experienced, the ability to risk sharing his “fantasy story” with a very discriminating audience says volumes about his confidence level. More than anything else, what impressed me was the sense of pride and accomplishment that was achieved.
All of us recall moments as children when we were free to entertain our fantasies and enter some magical make believe world without worries or cares, where all of our dreams would be fulfilled and happiness reigned. This wonderful interaction with our students and the volunteer storytellers has helped children who have been robbed of that opportunity to enjoy, as all children should, the carefree pleasure of magical thinking.
At the end of the day is that not what we are all about? Establishing an environment where children can dream. From those dreams come the aspirations that motivate a child to hope. This is what Hillsides is all about.
We could not do this without a whole cast of staff and volunteers who are driven to restore the ability to dream for the children we serve. The writers and actors of Storytellers serve as a wonderful example of how, in this great entertainment capitol, these wonderful professionals sacrifice their time and share their talent to make dreams come true for children who otherwise would be consumed by their sadness with no way to express themselves.
The therapeutic value of these experiences is immeasurable. This is a great example of how, in spite of fiscal restraints, a community comes together to be resourceful and place its talent at the service of those who most need it.
To the wonderful actors and writers of Storytellers and those on staff who coordinate all that is involved in these performances, thank you! These efforts inspire dreams that help the children and youth we serve hope once again.