Letters to the Editor

Community needs to help YTN

I was recently informed that Youth Theatre Northwest is facing major financial difficulties and as a former stage manager at YTN, I felt it important that I write to let you know how important I believe the theater is not only to the Mercer Island community but to the children and families it serves.

Youth Theatre Northwest has been improving the lives of children for 25 years. I have witnessed children grow, find their voices and feel they really have a place where they belong. Children who may not have any other place where they feel they fit in have found a home at Youth Theatre Northwest. With so many schools in the area cutting their art education budgets, there is no other place for some of these children to learn skills in communication, expression and team building.

Youth Theatre Northwest also fills a great need in the community as a family-friendly, inexpensive place for families to spend time together. The productions at the theater are tailor-made for children of all ages to enjoy, and the classes they provide are not necessarily offered anywhere else.

Throughout the five years that I worked at Youth Theatre Northwest, I watched shy children break out of their shells and fall in love with performing; I have seen families who were going through hard times, whether divorce or financial difficulties, feel at ease for a short time while being entertained; I have spent countless hours laughing with and learning from these courageous students who get up on that stage and sing, dance and act with all that they have to bring joy to the community.

Mercer Island needs Youth Theatre Northwest to continue to flourish and provide a safe, encouraging and educational place for children to discover who they are and where they belong in life. Please help Youth Theatre Northwest continue to exist in the community for many more years to come by sending donations, attending shows, signing your children up for classes or just volunteering a few hours of your time.

Erika Sheehan

YTN Stage Manager 2001-2006

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