Cast Of COME FROM AWAY Surprises Student Activist Group At Segerstrom Center
The Trabuco Mesa Elementary School SAKtivist (Student Acts of Kindness) were thrilled to be invited to speak at "We All Tell Stories - Kindness" at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts free community event on the Julianne and George Argyros Plaza this past Saturday. They thought that they'd be sharing their stories, encouraging others to join in the movement of the making a difference, one simple act of kindness at a time.
What they didn't expect was to have the cast from the National Tour of Come from Away make a surprise appearance, to thank the kids for inspiring them. The young group of students had reached out to the company and challenged them to do their own Simple Acts of Kindness and spread the word as they toured the country. The company accepted, and finally met the students, recognizing them at the event and enjoying a post-event pizza party to share their stories.
Come From Away was the initial catalyst for the SAKtivist program, which began in 2016 after teacher Mandy Kelly she saw the musical. Inspired by the show - which relates the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded airline passengers from around the world and the people of Gander, Newfoundland who welcomed them - Ms. Kelly challenged her 6th-grand students to perform one random act of kindness every day for a month and write it down. By the end of December 2016, the students weren't ready to quit kindness. They kept it going, month after month. Eventually, the school year ended, but the SAKtivists didn't. Each year, the students in Mrs. Kelly's class continue the program, looking for new avenues to expand their reach and spread their message.
They encourage their peers to spend time with someone new on campus, leave kind notes on the desks of students and to help around the house. They have bought drinks for strangers at Starbucks, opened doors for others, distributed balloons to children in the park. They even created business cards to pass out with each good deed, reminding recipients to pay it forward. They now have their own social media platforms. People can join the Random Acts of Kindness Challenge by going to bit.ly/SAKtivistsForm.
Mrs. Kelly's class produces weekly videos challenging others to become SAKtivists by performing specific acts of kindness, as they did for the Come >From Away cast. They have created an online form to connect with other K-12 classes. Today, classes continue to accept challenges. There are more than 150 schools in 28 states. Classes from across six continents, countries that include the United States, Ireland, England and Dubai, and an entire school in Canada have taken on their challenges.
Mrs. Kelly said, "We really try to make sure every challenge can be done by anyone in any socioeconomic background, any kind of home life. Anyone can be kind. I've been so amazed and just so touched at how much it's changed the culture within the classroom." Mrs. Kelly estimates that thousands of acts of kindness have been performed by the SAKtivists at Trabuco Mesa alone, and that thousands more have come in response to their challenges.
Segerstrom Center for the Arts is committed to supporting artistic excellence, offering unsurpassed experiences and to engaging the entire community in new and exciting ways through the unique power of live performance and a diverse array of inspiring arts-based education and community engagement programs.
Previously called the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Segerstrom Center is Orange County's largest non-profit arts organization. The Center presents a broad range of programming for audiences of all ages, including international ballet and dance, national tours of top Broadway shows, jazz and cabaret, contemporary artists, classical music performed by renowned chamber orchestras and ensembles, family-friendly programming and free performances on the Center's Julianne and George Argyros Plaza, including free movie screenings, live performances, special holiday events and festivals to celebrate the rich cultural diversity of the county.
Segerstrom Center is a leader among the nation's performing arts centers for providing education programs designed to inspire young people through the arts. These reach hundreds of thousands of students each year in five Southern California counties. Community engagement programs developed through the Center for Dance and Innovation and Center Without Boundaries also connect the Center more comprehensively with Orange County's many diverse communities. The CDI supports flagship artistic programming and a wide range of projects that celebrate innovation, nurture creativity and engage audiences of the future. It is home to the American Ballet William J. Gillespie School and the School of Dance and Music for Children with Disabilities. The Center Without Boundaries develops partnerships with non-cultural organizations to help them in their own efforts to respond to the ever-changing needs of the community.
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