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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Imagination Theater Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Single Organization Support, Theater

Mission: Imagination Theater provides diverse audiences with original, dynamic, participatory theatrical programming that enhances well being and creates a more civil, safe society.

Target demographics: diverse audiences

Direct beneficiaries per year: approximately 35,000 people by presenting over 250 shows in Illinois and across the US.

Geographic areas served: the Chicago area

Programs: FOR K-8th GRADE STUDENTS: -Ease the Tease -Show Some Respect -No Secrets ...and many other programs that address a variety of social issues. FOR HS STUDENTS: -Aware Individuals: A Dialogue About Sex and HIV/AIDS FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS: -College 101: Beyond the Books (appropriate for new student orientation) ADULTS AND CORPORATIONS: -Custom Designed Workshops to meet your organization's needs FOR OLDER ADULTS: -Senior Spotlight: Chicago And All that Jazz (music and theater therapy show for the elderly)

Community Stories

16 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Imagination Theater brings an element of simplicity to otherwise very complicated issues our school children are facing in their young lives. Their approach to teaching the students with a sense of humor really keeps them engaged and helps them understand at their developmental level. I am a school social worker who works with a very diverse population, and I feel that all of the students I work with can understand and connect with the actors in some way. The presentations are very engaging and fun! We can't wait to have them back to our school!

Comments ( 1 )

Bethany at Imagination Theater Thanks so much! We look forward to working with you all again in the future.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This company was easy to work with and communication was excellent throughout the whole process. The performers were mindful of the age group they were trying to target and got every student engaged throughout the assembly. Students walked away with a great message of respect and were talking about the assembly the following days at school.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The kids were completely engaged with Imagination Theater's performance. Very necessary for the students to see every year!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thanks to the actors who came to MacNeal School yesterday and did an incredible performance with the students. They engaged everyone and their material was updated and edgy enough to be really meaningful. Excellent job and we will have you back!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Imagination Theater has served our K - 8 student population in the past with great success. It is a unique tool to raise awareness about a very serious and sensitive topic. We are excited to bring Imagination Theater to our school again next month. We certainly could not do it without the grant due to the fact that over 80% of our students are at or below poverty level. Thanks, Imagination Theater!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Imagination Theater is a staple of the elementary and middle school experience. I personally have witnessed the profound effect of their performances on students for the past 20 years! As a counselor in a K-5 school, I invited them to meet with our 2nd-5th grade students last school year, 2013-2014. Their performance was so impactful that the safety room was busy until the end of the school day. To this day, students still remember what they learned about how to stay safe in vulnerable situations. Theater, in general, is one of the most powerful tools for transforming the lives of all children. Let's continue supporting this valuable resource.

Comments ( 1 )

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Bethany at Imagination Theater 11/01/2014

Thank you so much for the great review, and I'm thrilled that we have been able to work with you and your students for 20 years!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am an 8th grade teacher and our students have greatly benefited from this program. Thank you!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a counselor with Chicago Public Schools. I work with students with special needs ages 16-21. Many of the students I work with have a difficult time with self-advocacy and reporting instances of teasing, bullying, abuse, etc. Imagination Theater did an EXCELLENT job of modifying the performance to meet the needs of our students. The interactive nature of the program helped my students to better understand the topics that were being presented. The Imagination Theater performers do a wonderful job dealing with sensitive subjects and the support they provide to students and staff after the performance is outstanding. I highly recommend this program for all grade levels.

Comments ( 1 )

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Bethany at Imagination Theater 10/25/2014

So glad to hear of our success at your school, and thanks for the great review!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Imagination Theater is a fantastic organization. We have had the privilege of presenting the "No Secrets" program to our students in K-4 the past two years. This program educates students in an entertaining, engaging, age-appropriate manner. All aspects of the program are professional and thorough - from the counselor training and teacher training, to the follow-up classroom visits. This program is invaluable to supporting schools in sexual abuse prevention. Imagination Theater deserves the utmost support!

Comments ( 1 )

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Bethany at Imagination Theater 10/25/2014

Thank you so much for the great review, and I'm so glad your students have benefited from No Secrets! It truly is an amazing program, if I do say so myself. :)

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm a school social worker servicing students on the west side of Chicago. I am so grateful for the performance delivered by Imagination Theater, as well as the follow-up to address student and staff needs. They offered insightful and therapeutic information in a manner that was as entertaining as it was educational. I'm looking forward to working with Imagination Theater on future projects to address student needs. It was a pleasure.

Comments ( 1 )

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Bethany at Imagination Theater 10/25/2014

Thank you so much! We look forward to working with you again too!

Client Served

Rating: 5

October 17, 2014



To Whom It May Concern,

It is with great pleasure that I write this letter in support of Imagination Theater and their prevention education programming.

Communities In Schools of Chicago (CIS of Chicago) works closely with 125 Chicago public schools to connect social, emotional, health and enrichment services to students and their families. CIS of Chicago’s partner schools represent a diverse population of the city, including many immigrant and refugee families facing myriad cultural, social and financial challenges. In 2013-14, violence prevention was second in the areas of greatest need reported by CIS of Chicago partner schools. Providing prevention programs is critical for the health and safety of students.

For the past 14 years, CIS of Chicago has partnered with Imagination Theater to connect “No Secrets”, their sexual violence prevention education, to Chicago public schools. During the 2013-2014 school year, nearly 20 CIS of Chicago schools expressed a need for sexual assault prevention education for their students. Imagination Theater was able to serve over 5,400 students and is a key agency to provide this programming. Through their commitment to prevention education, Imagination Theater will make it possible for students to have the opportunity to learn about continue.

CIS of Chicago values Imagination Theater’s dedication to provide compassionate and quality sexual violence prevention education programming to students in Chicago. We look forward to a lasting partnership with Imagination Theater and hope they will be able to continue providing needed services to students in Chicago Public Schools.

Jane Mentzinger
Executive Director

Comments ( 1 )

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Bethany at Imagination Theater 10/25/2014

Thank you so much, Jane. Communities in Schools of Chicago have been invaluable partners to us over the years.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I work as a school counselor for an inner city school. I started working with Imagination theater through a partnership we have with Communities in Schools. Imagination theater's purpose and objectives are so important for our students. They believe in and work to educate students on necessary real life skills that are life-saving. My students learn so much and I truly believe that this organization brings so much awareness to important issues. I would recommend them to any school. They are wonderful to work with.

Comments ( 1 )

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Bethany at Imagination Theater 09/24/2013

Thank you so much! We love working with your students.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a kindergarten teacher in a low income school in Chicago. Imagination theater is a vital and much needed organization that provides top notch programming for our students. They are organized, thoughtful, reflective and absolutely meet the needs of children that have been sexually abused , bullied or just aren't sure. Often, these children are afraid to tell adults when an incident has occurred that "makes you feel funny In your stomach". I am so impressed with the way they show an auditorium of children a fun, light hearted play, yet also show some heavier themes that students can identify with and the fact they provide a place for students to talk to a professional, if needed, and provide sessions in the classroom after the show that provide role-playing and extension activities proves their understanding of children and what is appropriate for their age.
I have taught for nine years in inner city schools, hold a Masters in Education and have my National Board Certification in Primary Education and can 100% endorse this organization. This program needs to be provided in many, many schools. Especially low income schools (like mine) that do not have funds for this superior type of programming. Thank you, Imagination Theater. You are one of the best non-profits for children. Your programming has not only given students at my school tools and strategies to talk about a "taboo" topic, you have provided me with resources and words to work with children.

Comments ( 1 )

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Bethany at Imagination Theater 09/24/2013

What a thoughtful, detailed post. Thank you!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Engaging, age appropriate, relevant presentation that empowers students to say no to unwanted touches and to report incidents of unsafe touch. Teachers felt more comfortable having discussions with students about abuse and preventing abuse after the presentations.

Comments ( 1 )

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Bethany at Imagination Theater 09/24/2013

That's great to hear. Thanks!

Client Served

Rating: 5

It is my pleasure to write this in regards to Imagination Theater’s performance at my school, Southside Occupational High School. Southside is a 100% special education high school which serves students 16-21 years of age. Due to our students’ cognitive disabilities we are always looking for organizations that provide age appropriate material that is tailored to our students’ ability levels. Imagination Theater exemplifies an organization that is flexible and willing to modify the content of their performance to best serve the audience.

From our initial meeting with Ellen Cribbs, to the day of the performance, every interaction with Imagination Theater was professional, friendly, and informative. Imagination Theater worked closely with our curriculum coordinator and counseling department to tailor the performance for our students. Through this collaboration the performance included the appropriate accommodations and modifications that our students require.

The performance was a hit with students and staff. Students were engaged during the performance; volunteering, clapping, laughing, gasping, and sharing. The support on the day of the performance was excellent. The materials provided by Imagination Theater for parents and staff will allow Southside to continue the conversation in the weeks and months to come. We are grateful to have had such an excellent professional organization come to our school and educate our students. We look forward to continuing this relationship!

Lindsey11

Client Served

Rating: 4

Imagination Theater programs have helped our students over the years to learn ways in which to be respectful to each other. The actual modeling of behaviors with our students and reenacting scenarios give them hands on experience to provide solutions to problems that often occur at school.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have had Imagination Theater come to our school several times. Every time has been a resounding success. They offer a variety of programs and will tailor the show to any special needs your school has. One example is that we booked a show on responsibility, but it was also the week before ISAT testing. Our principal asked that the crew input some kind of ISAT prep skit. I was wondering how they would do that exactly, but it turned out great and the kids were very enthusiastic about it. More importantly, Imagination Theater puts students in the role of solving actual problems that they face on a daily basis and gives them tools to deal with difficult issues. When combined with teacher follow up, Imagination Theater provides a school with great tools to build a respectful and respoonsible environment. This is not just another assembly that will be forgotten as soon as the students leave. It serves a very critical purpose in building a safe and secure environment for every student in the school. I can guarentee that any school will be very pleased with the experience they get from Imagination Theater.