I was standing in the wings waiting for one of our rehearsals to begin. As the cast members began to fill the stage I found myself behind Hannah O’Briant and another little girl. Hannah had been in several shows and a camp with us, but this was the other little girl’s first production. She was obviously nervous as she walked up on the big stage for the first time. I felt anxious and excited for her as I remembered my first rehearsal as a child. As I was thinking about this moment I watched Hannah reach out and put her arm around the young girl and say “Don’t worry I was nervous my first time too but don’t be scared. You’re a part of the Stage Door Family now!” That moment will stay with me always. That was the moment the SDP Family was officially named. It was created from a beautiful little heart comforting a stranger and soon to be friend.
As many of us know, life is not always easy. It is filled with intimidating moments and heart wrenching decisions. Which is why we love and protect everyone we work with as family. Children are continually making decisions that added together will define the person they become. Every day they are laying the foundation that the rest of their lives will be built upon. The arts are an amazing tool to help in the creation of that foundation. If you look at the arts as a tool instead of an end product you can see why the arts are vitally important in the lives of young people. The arts develop confidence, problem solving, perseverance, focus, dedication, and accountability. Strengths that can be used for years to come in their personal relationships, careers, and in their every day encounters with the world.
Those qualities are what the SDP family strives for. To create an environment where everyone can feel safe and where they have a support system as they experience new things and find their voice. In the true sense of family we want this to be a place filled with love and understanding. A place where people support each other as they push one another to be the best they can possibly be. A family is a place where it is ok to make mistakes but where they also hold each other accountable.
The SDP family is not solely the staff. The SDP family is a conglomeration of individuals striving to support each other while we have the pleasure of sharing this time together. The core of what we are is the same as the heart of those two little girls willing to share an encouraging word and walk hand in hand as they share something new.
By: Lindsay Mitchell-SDP Executive Director