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Review for Fort Lauderdale Children's Theatre, Ft Lauderdale, FL, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

It all started with my family going to this magical place. My uncle Jarrod started Fort Lauderdale Children's Theater when he was very young, and made it his life. He spent every hour of every day there. He did both cast and crew there up until age 18, and still today in his 30's comes to visit. My father started Fort Lauderdale Children's Theater very young, and my uncle Jason as well. Once I was born, my grandma and uncle Jarrod led me here. I was three years old when I started the jellybean class. I was a shy little girl, who always held onto my grandma's neck and needed to be held. On day one of FLCT, the teacher at the time asked me, "Britney, do you want to try on costumes and play games with us?" I then jumped out of my grandma's arms to go play with the other kids. That was a huge breakthrough for me. I was antisocial and shy.
From three years old, I did all the shows there nonstop. During my years there, I had a tragedy in my family. I lost my mother at the age of 29. I was ten years old. I was very messed up, and needed help. I needed to know that there were people out there who cared about me, and I needed as much love as humanly possible. Janet, the executive artistic director, came with me to psychologists to help give me peace of mind, which I so desperately needed. She understood that I needed someone by my side, and she was that shoulder to cry on. I was very messed up from it, and consequently lost all of my self esteem. I felt alone and scared. It became harder for me to go on stage and perform to an audience. Everytime I felt unconfident, all the directors there pushed me pulled me out of my comfort zone and got me my confidence I needed.
Doing the improv class at FLCT gave me so much confidence and made me a better actress. Ed, the improv specialist, made it so I would willingly get up and actually be funny, in those awkward middle school years. I could be having the worst day in the world, but Ed was always able to make me laugh despite my problems at home and my depression. My grandma sent me to improv to build self confidence, and to make it so I could put myself out there without being scared of being judged or unwanted. Improv helped me to overcome all those things, and more. At age 16 now, improv is still a major part of my life.
Middle school kids are mean and love to make fun of people. 8th graders at my school loved to go and do bad things, like drinking and drugs and I never would do it with them. I was always teased and always felt like an outsider. I'm a bit of a "goth" kid, as I was labeled, and I was constantly made fun of for it. Coming to FLCT after school was like walking into another world. Kids of every ethnicity, social class, and more can all come here and be accepted. People here don't pressure you to do things you don't want to do; they push you to do the right thing at all times.
Janet has taught me a major lesson in tolerance. Me and this girl Katie, who I met at the theater couldn't stand each other. She was a cheerleader and I was the "goth" kid. We constantly teased and teased each other. During a show called "Big," Katie and I got into a huge argument, that led into a fist fight in which we broke a prop. Janet pulled us outside and told us that we needed to get along and stop fighting or we would be removed from the theater permanently. FLCT is my world and it is to Katie as well, so we apologized to the cast and crew. From then on, Katie and I have been best friends. We have sleepovers at each other's houses(including right now) and we tell each other everything. (she does ;)
FLCT has truly made me who I am today. No child is ever left behind for any reason. This amazing place excepts everyone and never judges. FLCT does outreach and Janet does "Deliver the Dream," which is such a wonderful program. They also do an Anti Bullying program at Broward schools. I don't know where I would be without FLCT, and I am so proud to say I've had the best 13 years of my life at Fort Lauderdale Children's Theater.and i love this girl...katie santoro she is my rock

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My entire family, my friends, and myself. I don't know where I would be without this amazing place.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Absolutely nothing. Fort Lauderdale Children's Theater is completely perfect and it is a second home to me.

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How did you learn about this organization?

My family did Fort Lauderdale Children's Theater when they were young and brought me here when I was three years old.

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Role:  General Member of the Public & I've done shows, classes, outreach, and volunteer hours here. .