In September 2022, Loyola Academy launched a partnership with Special Gifts Theatre (SGT), a not-for-profit organization that provides individuals who possess a wide array of special needs (physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and learning) the opportunity to experience the joy and enrichment that theatre arts can bring. The SGT x LA Peer Mentor Program gives Ramblers the opportunity to work one-on-one with a Special Gifts Theatre buddy in our beautiful new McGrath Family Performing Arts Center. Together, they put on a magical performance of “Seussical Jr” on March 4 and 5!
“Partnering with LA has been a dream come true for SGT,” says Elise Larsen, executive director of Special Gifts Theatre.
Seussical Jr weaves a story of friendship, loyalty, and love to teach us the power of being unique and the importance of fighting for your beliefs. The adapted musical production featured an inclusive cast of Special Gifts Theatre actors with disabilities and Loyola Academy students as peer mentor volunteers.
Prior to the start of the program, Loyola student mentors received disability awareness training with one-on-one coaching and support with skill development in patience, empathy, compassion, leadership, and responsibility. Participating Rambler mentors include: Megan Bailey, Melanie Clark, Annabella Devine, Liam Gregg, Sean Gregg, Rena Haile, Irene Haralampopoulos, Eleanore Hickman, Kaitlynn Holbach, Stavroula Konstantopoulos, Delaney Koval, Angela Leblanc, Morgan Mackie, Milannia Martin-Hayes, Meghan McDonald, Margaret McGovern, Molly McKinley, Emilia Nelson, Francie Orth, Monserrath Perez, Caroline Petrillo, Karin Prince, Sofia Rosinski, Jane Rushin, Margaret Sheahan, Savannah Sochacki, and Peter Winslow.
I've really enjoyed being a part of Special Gifts, " says Margaret Sheahan '23. "I've made some really great friends, and it's been a wonderful experience."
The mission of Special Gifts Theatre is to foster self-confidence, social, speech, and language skills in individuals with disabilities using educational and therapeutic techniques with the stage as the platform, integrating creativity and fun. Learn more at https://specialgiftstheatre.org/.