Little Known Metropolis Facts

September 15, 2010 § 2 Comments

So we’ve got this new Development Director – Joe Villinski. Good guy, that Joe.

He’s been spending much of his time saying things like “I can’t believe all this great work we do and how little we publicize it…” Then I say something like “Honestly, there’s such an enormous amount of work that goes in to marketing 45+ shows, three semesters of classes, summer camps (and my whining continues) that our Outreach department is the wheel that’s the least squeaky,” or something else really lame.

Joe has become their squeaky wheel, and that’s a good thing. People want to financially support good theatre, but they really really want to financially support good theatre that also brings the arts to poor kids, rich kids, kids with special needs, that brings vital arts programs to school curricula where it’s been cut, that helps kids develop confidence, find an artistic voice, have fun, make friends, that helps teachers learn how to teach, how to develop more artistically and intellectually engaged children, etc. etc.

Metropolis does a lot of this. So from this roof top, I’m going to begin shouting it. Here are a few numbers you should know:

  • In the past three years, Metropolis Outreach has served over 15,000 children and adults (though mostly children).
  • We have had Outreach programs in over 90 different schools, park districts, seniors homes and other community organizations.
  • We have a great program called Flourish in the Footlights where kids and young adults with special needs develop their own stage plays and perform them. It’s awesome and the parents and teachers will tell you – these kids come out happy and having developed their communication skills and made great strides socially.
  • We have had implemented programs in hospices to help improve quality of life for the terminally ill.
  • In addition to a milion (not really a million) Elementary and Jr. & Sr. High Schools, Metropolis Outreach works with groups like Arlington Pediatric Therapy and NWSRA. Awesome.

I personally interviewed a girl who had moved here from Iraq with her mom and brother. Her school had been blown up by militants and her dad had died. They relocated to the United States via a million other countries (again, hyperbole, but a few countries for sure), started a new life in the Roger’s Park neighborhood in Chicago. An anonymous donor paid for her private schooling at St. Scholastica and she joined a dance program at school run by one of our teachers – Kristen Gurbach Jacobson. She says it changed her life. It gave her confidence in something she always wanted to do but never thought she could or would even have the chance. St. Scholastica did not have a dance program. But they had Metropolis.

Here’s the whole story from September, 2009. It’s short and great.

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