Archives for January 2014

It Truly is the Season of Giving:

 

This year I am in charge of a Park Road Book tree for our students here at Communities In Schools. Each year this small, locally run, book store in Charlotte puts up a tree the day after Thanksgiving  for their patrons to sponsor our students. Students create ornaments, request books, and turn them in for the tree. This year Park Road Books took 350 ornaments, and every single student was chosen off the tree. I was blown away! How does a small bookstore motivate their patrons to buy SO MANY books for our students in those four weeks?It Truly is the Season of Giving:

Our main contact at the store greets me with a smile each time I show up at the store to pick up the next full box of boxes. She constantly tells me stories about patrons who were moved by our students’ stories, journeys and requests. Many of our teen mothers picked books not for themselves, but for their young children. One of our students spent his request on his little brother. Many of our high school students have chosen SAT or AP test prep books to better prepare themselves for college.

Simply by purchasing an extra book at the store the patrons of Park Road Books are changing a holiday season for our students. Some of these students have never owned a book of their own before. I am constantly moved by the generosity and support of the community. Strangers really can make a difference in the life of others if they are given the right opportunity.

People, People, People

The holidays, especially Kwanzaa and New Year’s have reminded me to reflect. Recently, the topic of people and relationships has been on my mind a lot, professionally and personally. I enjoy a robust and diverse friend group and work in a field that focuses on people—and the connections between them.

Over the holidays, I caught my family members up on my experiences with my new co-workers. Working at a theatre means that you are guaranteed some big, quirky personalities. It can be one of the greatest parts of the work environment.

People, People, People

Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this group?!

 

The Theater Offensive exists in the space where theatre and activism intersect, which requires a revealing honesty about who we are and where we come from. It also provides a family structure of support that challenges and nurtures us.

I visited my home, Raleigh, NC over the holidays and had an impromptu high school reunion. I admire and enjoy the company of a large number of my high school friends. It seemed like a lot of my peers shared that feeling, because with less than 48 hours notice, we had a group of over 60 alumni (almost 10% of our class) get together.

 

My mother’s sage advice to “keep in touch with good friends. You never know how much they will mean to you” resonated in my mind as I had conversations with these now young adults. Their occupations ran the gamut from doctors and plumbers, teachers to and grad school students. Some were starting families or traveling and others were moving back home. With many of my theatre friends from high school, I cannot help but fantasize that some of us will come together and start a social justice theatre company one day—perhaps in our hometown.

People, People, People

Reunion: William G. Enloe Class of ’09

Either way, these exchanges led me to thoughts about the future and unique career challenges I might face. For the majority of my baby boomer parents’ telecommunications career, they have worked in jobs that did not exist when they entered college. I believe this phenomenon will hold true across sectors for many in Generation Y. Most of us have graduated thinking that the decade ahead may bring with it five or more distinct job titles. We must think in terms of a winding path rather than one that is straight, stable and narrow.

The realities of job instability, insecurity and innovation seem to m to hold true or even be magnified in the field of theatre.

So I ask myself “what does that mean for me, a social justice theatre practitioner-to-be?”

At a Davidson career services session, I heard the statistic that “only 30% of all arts and entertainment jobs are posted anywhere.” (After all, my current job was not posted.) How will I find my next job?

We have all heard the saying “people give money to people, not programs.” Will I chase grant money to fund my work?

I have finally started to understand first hand why networking is so important. When I say networking, I do not mean a soulless exchange of fancy business cards over martinis, I mean connecting with individuals you admire or who share your vision in order to find ways to support each other, your contacts or your cause.

Who will I meet this year that will impact my future?
With whom from my past will I cross paths?
For whom can I help pave the way?

What part do I play in this world of people, people and more people?

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