Saturday, February 04, 2006

Commendation for Young People's Theater by The City of San Jose

The Young People's Theater Company, under the direction of Carole Ferris-Greer, will receive a City of San Jose Commendation Award presented by Ken Yeager and Judy Chirco, for Outstanding Achievement and Contribution to Community on Tuesday February 7th 2006 at 7.00 pm at The New City Hall.

This is wonderful news for the program.

Carole Ferris-Greer wrote the following in the current program insert for The Wizard of Oz:
"What is right is often overridden by what is convenient. With the current budget situation in the City of San Jose so bleak, I am not sure that YPT and I will be here in the Fall of 2006 to produce "Annie". I hope I'm wrong, but just in case, I wanted to say that I'm grateful to the many people who have come to our Community Theater over the years and given me cans, time and their children to work with. Thank you for coming tonight and enjoy the show."

In the Spring of 1983, the City of San Jose purchased the old Kirk Elementary School and turned it into Kirk Community Center. Carole Ferris Greer was one of the original staff members and worked as a Youth Program Co-ordinator. She had a background in Theater and one of the activities she programmed was a play production in the Fall of 1983. The first play was "The Wizard of Oz" From that first production, theater at Kirk Community Center took on a life of its own, regardless of who tried to stop it.
The theater program grew by reputation and through word of mouth. YPT was a community of kids and parents that came to creatively express themselves. At Kirk Community Center in a small school cafeteria The Young People's Theater was born. The children kept returning and the program went from strength to strength. Carole Ferris-Greer found her vocation and generations were to benefit in the years to come.
As the years went by, the first participants became Recreation leaders and Recreation Aides, passing on the magic and becoming mentors and role models for the next cohort of eager thespians. The program repeated annually with kids growing up, becoming part of the directing and leadership team. Kids came as nine year olds and stayed into their twenties (Cassie Heropoulos and Kelli La Russa are two of them). Parents got involved and became valued City employees (Donna Becker). The program became larger and more popular. When the Girl Scout movement became involved, the program moved upward to a whole new level. The support of the Girl Scout Organization in the last 23 years has been huge and very empowering to the success of YPT.
YPT has raised and donated 110,000 cans of food to Cititeam ministries, Santa Maria Urban Mission, Sacred Heart Community Center, Mayfair Community Center's Holiday Food drive and The Salvation Army. The Parent Support Group, known as Friend's of YPT, has raised and donated $7,000 to the American Breast Cancer Society, in the name of Nancy Heropoulos in the last five years. YPT has collected and donated toys at Christmas and now blankets this Winter. The program has endeavoured to give back to the community to make a difference. The Director Carole Ferris-Greer is proud and humbled by these achievements.
From that first production of "The Wizard of Oz" to the current one (which is a very special cast of kids ages 6-19) the focus of YPT has always been about kids believing in themselves. Kids, the relationships, the mentoring and the food donations, the full circle of it all, is what has remained a constant over the last 23 years. To be featured in the plays, it was never about who the best actors were or even if they could sing or dance. It has always been about the possibilities of the individual, not the guarantees. The standard was about doing your best. Never bunt, swing for the fences.

Directors Cassie Heropoulos and Carole Ferris-Greer
Choreography Cassie Heropoulos
Vocals Julia Randazzo and Cassie Heropoulos
Assistant to the Directors Kenny Crain Donna Becker
Technical Direction Carole Ferris-Greer, Joe Habib and Valentine Lewis
Costume Design Cassie Heropoulos
House Management Donna Becker
Performance Lighting Carole Ferris-Greer
Performance Sound Brian Teng
Props Kelli La Russa
Scenic Design YPT Staff and Wizard Cast Members
Stage Managers Kenny Crain, Cassie Heropoulos, Kelli La Russo, Taylor Negrette


Blogger Cpatty76 said...

Carole Ferris Greer will forever live in the mind of my child as the most horrific and hurtful woman she has ever come into contact with. This lady had/has no business being around kids. She is horrible.

1:36 PM  

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