Bridging the Language Gap MAG

By Jordan S., Marietta, GA

     I’m the founder and artistic producer of The Children’s Bilingual Theater. That might sound like something too grand for a teenager, but I began in theater in second grade and when my school offered Spanish in the after-school program, I had the idea to combine theater and language - voila, I founded The Children’s Bilingual Theater.

I started recruiting students, raising money and getting adults to help in 2003, and then premiered a show in 2004. I was inspired by fellow students who wanted to use their new language skills outside the classroom. This

service project helps Spanish speakers improve their English, and English speakers improve their Spanish. Everyone benefits from theater, learning about public speaking, and working together.

It was scary when we started, but with community support we raised $3,000. Then 17 kids staged a bilingual play

at four schools that had agreed to host.

The project has had many success stories, including working with over 90 volunteers as cast and crew and performing for over 3,000 audience

members. We welcome students who have recently immigrated and are recommended by their teachers, as well as the school’s Spanish Club members and other volunteers.

When I was diagnosed with Turner syndrome, I was discouraged, but instead of giving up something I love because of my medical issues, I continued the theater outreach and helping out at-risk schools and daycare centers as a literacy advocate. I lead volunteers as costumed storytellers, stage musicals, and worked with community leaders to make the theater a nonprofit corporation with tax-exempt status. That helps a lot with raising money!

In 2007, “Cinderella Eats Rice and Beans,” a salsa hip-hop bilingual musical, will be the group’s third production. Since its beginnings, CBT has raised over $28,000 in donations, grants and scholarships. I hope to continue helping English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students improve their English, help youth interested in learning Spanish, and encourage my community to bridge the language and cultural gap through theater arts

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i love this so much!


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