The Neighborhood Service Organization’s Life Choices program in partnership with the Players Guild of Dearborn will host the 8th annual Starshine Theatre Workshop. The 5-day workshop introduces developmentally challenged consumers of the NSO’s Life Choices program to the dramatic arts. The workshop concludes on Friday, August 11 with a performance of “Pirates – The Musical” at the Players Guild of Dearborn.
The program, founded by John Sczomak, NSO Director of Older Adult Services and member of the Players Guild of Dearborn said, is an opportunity for workshop participants to increase their confidence through exposure to theater.
“Even in that short period of time, which is really four days plus the performance, they learn a lot. When you see them on day one and then on day four and how they adapt. At the end of the show it’s kind of amazing to see the parents crying because they’re happy to see their kids in that kind of light. They can see how people can rise to the occasion and the young people at the Neighborhood Service Organization, they do! They do!” the founder said.
Sczomak who has been with the NSO for more than 30 years believes programs like the NSO’s Life Choices are important resources for the community, especially underserved populations such as the developmentally challenged.
The NSO Life Choices program serves people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community. The goal of the program is to help the programs participants learn how to express themselves and eventually become fully immersed and active in the community. The program provides supportive services and clinical services that include psychological testing, behavior modification planning, individual and family therapy and psychiatric care.
The workshop, Sczomak said, acts as an extension of the programs mission.
“It is really showing the community the mission of both the Players Guild and the NSO, which is to serve the community. The mission of the Players Guild is to provide cultural arts to the community. It’s an all-volunteer organization. No one is paid at the Players Guild. At the NSO, our core mission is to serve. Doing it in this unique way and at the same time it’s fun,” Sczomak said of the partnership between the NSO and Players Guild of Dearborn.
Now in it’s 8th year, the Starshine Theater Workshop has even inspired Players Guild youth to join the work of serving the community. Several of them, Sczomak said, have gone on to work in the fields of social work and psychology.
“It’s a mutual benefit to everybody. Everybody gets something out of this. No matter if they’re a helper or a participant. Nobody walks away from this without getting something out of it. It’s a unique experience for the people at the Players Guild to be involved. The kids are so appreciative at the end of it. I can’t emphasize enough about how mutually beneficial this experience is for everybody,” Sczomak said.
“This is partnership. A true partnership. It couldn’t have happened without everybody on the side of NSO and the people on the Players Guild buying into this. For it to sustain itself for 8 years, it’s really a testament to the inherent character of both organizations to carry this forward every year. This is no small task even for a week. We can form partnerships on all sorts of levels to serve and that’s what’s happening here.”
Join the NSO and the Players Guild of Dearborn for the Starshine Theater Workshop’s performance of “Pirates – The musical” on Friday, August 11 at 7 pm at the Players Guild of Dearborn located at 21730 Madison St. in Dearborn. For tickets to the show, call (313) 561-8587.