‘Opening Act’ Drama Program For Marginalized Schools Inspires Students
Lucas Kavner, Huffington Post | April 19, 2011

Julia Kamin, a self-diagnosed theatre geek in her teenage years, never really anticipated how much her own interests would impact kids in need.

“I remember doing plays in high school,” she said. “And it was something I would look forward to all day, something I could sink my teeth into.”

Back in 2000, Julia was working for a legal advocacy organization in New York, helping students and families in the margins of the city’s often troubled public school system. “These were kids with learning and behavioral issues that weren’t being addressed,” she said.

Julia met one student who had been held back a few grades, he was bullying other kids, a “big kid” with a severe learning disability who was constantly struggling in school. Julia asked him if there might be something outside of school that he’d be interested in trying. Immediately, and to her complete surprise, he said: “I’d really like to act.”

Due to severe budget cuts, many of the city’s most under-served public schools had seen their drama clubs and other creative after-school activities fall by the wayside. Julia thought that a free, after-school program for kids to act and write original work would be something she could really get behind.  (Read more)