- The Arts Services Initiative of Western New York agreed to continue funding the program in 2017 with a $1,500 grant. However, this is $1,400 less than was provided in 2016 to cover the acting instructor stipend and supplies/materials. Empower is seeking this amount for these expenses in 2017.
- An additional $2,900 is needed to cover the cost of a second acting instructor stipend. Given the program’s success, we expect enrollment to grow. We would like to accept up to 20 students per cohort, but based on what was learned in 2016, if the student to instuctor ratio exceeds 3 instructors per 8-9 students, key program benefits (individualized attention and positive reinforcement of desired social skills) will be compromised. A second acting instructor, additional volunteers and another older student with autism to mentor students and to assist during classes and final performances are needed to maintain and expand program benefits to students.
- The provision of a larger space in which to hold dress rehearsals and final performances. In 2016, these events were held in the Empower’s Children’s Academy teacher’s lounge and gross motor room. Over 50 people attended both final performances; the room was overcrowded, and hot and stuffy. Further, depending on where attendees sat, the view may have been obstructed due to a room divider that needed to be partially closed for set changes and for students’ comfort. Empower is hoping that a nearby school will offer up its auditorium at no charge for two dress rehearsals and two final performances that will take place in late summer and late fall of 2017. Meeting at the larger space prior to the final performance will allow students who are more sensitive to change due to their autism diagnosis time to adapt to the new space. Further, larger accommodations will increase attendees’ comfort during final performances.
If you are interested in donating to the Spectrum Theater Program, or in offering up performance space, please contact Elizabeth Cardamone at (716) 297-0798, ext. 173 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Online donations also are accepted by clicking here.