Updated: Apr 30, 2020
I was sitting at my desk in May of 2000. I admit I was daydreaming a little. I was working on a theater project with a group of kids from the community at the time. I always felt how great it would be to provide an opportunity for all kids to be a part of this thing I always loved. As a child I longed for the chance to take classes or go to a performing arts camp, but for many reasons it wasn't a priority in my household. I told myself if I ever was able to expose and provide an outlet for theater for others, I would. Here we are 20 almost years later.
A lot of people have great ideas and wonderful visions. The difference is not just dreaming but doing the things needed to make it happen. When I started the center all I had was a hope, a dream and a vision. What little financial resources I used to get it started, began to multiply in different ways. The first couple of years it felt like a one-woman show. I learned a lot through the ups and downs. But I was passionate about seeing it work. Then families, businesses, community leaders and volunteers started showing up.
I was so fortunate that people believed in what I was trying to do. Don't get me wrong, not everyone supported or wanted it to succeed, even today there are still those people. I do this for the love of the arts and I've found when your heart is in the right place, doors will open. As the vision moved on, the Star Center began to form core groups, many of whom were parents of the kids in the programs. As kids "aged out" parents move on. But I must say, even as they move on they are still supportive and encouraging to the work of the Star Center. The foundation was laid.
Everyone is aware of the limited funding and resources for the arts. All I can say is that God has blessed us over the years because even during the toughest of times, we are still here. Even with the mounting interest and enthusiasm, there was still a financial need to help sustain the program. In 2005, Rhonda founded the Actors' Warehouse (now a separate organization) to expand the group of artists and audiences. The Actors’ Warehouse housed the Star Center Children’s Theatre and Spirit of Soul Repertory (adults). This allowed us to do more performances using adult actors. The kids could also learn from their work. Some of the first shows with adults included Ragtime in Concert, Smile, Tom Sawyer, The Wiz, Little Women and Once on this Island.