Letters to the Editor

Support YTN

I am writing to ask for community support of Youth Theatre Northwest. YTN has played an unbelievably influential role in my life and the lives of so many other Island youth. It has provided a safe place to grow, challenge oneself, learn and make lifelong friends. This is an organization that has given incredible amounts to our community, not only in providing an arts education but also in providing all of its students with skill sets that will aid them wherever their paths may lead. It is an institution that actively gives its students leadership opportunities, an aptitude for public speaking, the confidence to work in a collaborative setting, and the list could go on for pages.

After having given so much to our community, Youth Theatre Northwest now finds itself hard-hit by our recent economic downturn. So now it is time for us as a community to rally around it to show our thanks for all that it has given us over the years. I spent nearly my entire childhood on Mercer Island, and it is an incredible community to grow up in. Part of what it means to be in a community is to support all of its members in a time of need. YTN is an institution of Mercer Island. It was opened by Island residents, it provides incalculable benefits to the Island’s youth population as well as members from the surrounding community, and it is an integral part of what makes Mercer Island a safe and exciting place to grow up in.

Speaking from a personal view, Youth Theatre Northwest has been a part of my life since I took my first class there when I was 2 years old. It has provided me with a community of students and adults who continued to be a resource of support and encouragement even after I graduated and moved away. While I was there, I learned an incredible amount from my peers, educators and myself. I found out that there are no boundaries to what creativity can accomplish, no end to our imaginations and no limit to how far the support and love of a community can encourage you. And I know that this is not a case unique to myself. Talk to nearly any YTN alumnus or current student, and they will be able to speak passionately not only about the community of peers that they have found welcoming them inside the theater’s doors, but also the unlimited support and encouragement of the entire staff. Any of us could, name by name, talk about every single adult currently employed by Youth Theatre Northwest and the positive effect that they have had on us since the time when we first walked through those doors.

So please, find it in your hearts to help the theater in whatever way you can. These are hard times for all of us, but simply letting an integral piece of our community fade away should never be an option. Donate whatever amount you can. Even one dollar is another dollar closer to keeping its doors open. Enroll your kids in the numerous classes that YTN offers for a whole range of ages and watch as their creativity, passion and collaborative spirit is sparked. Bring your whole family to see a show (“Fiddler on the Roof” opens on March 6). Youth Theatre Northwest has profoundly impacted my life and the lives of countless other students. Let’s not lose this valuable resource for the next generation of Island youth.

Michael Holtzman

YTN Alumnus Graduating Class of 2007

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