Youth in Local Afterschool Programs Took Center Stage this Holiday Season with Lake Worth Playhouse

The children and youth from Sacred Heart and City of Greenacres Afterschool Programs joined Prime Time expanded learning opportunity Provider, Lake Worth Playhouse, for a special holiday showcase in early December. The participants from these programs took the stage to sing, dance and act as they performed  a collection of holiday classics, including: “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” “Mele Kalikimaka,”  “Feliz Navidad,” “Jingle Bell Rock,”  “The Grinch” and “Blue Christmas.” 

Teaching artists Deshon Allen and Laura Graham from Lake Worth Playhouse worked with each afterschool program for two months to prepare the youth for their on-stage debut. During this time, they were able to learn the ins and outs of theater and what it takes to put on a successful show with a set, costumes, scripts, music and choreography. After two months of practice, children performed their Christmas in Paradise show live on stage for their family and friends to see at the Lake Worth Playhouse.

“These afterschool students normally would not be able to receive an experience like this without the help of Prime Time. They positively  impact our students’ lives by providing these top-of-the-line  experiences. Mr. Deshon Allen at The Lake Worth Playhouse came to our afterschool program two to three times a week to practice with our students and poured his time and energy into each individual student. This program taught our students commitment, time management, reading script, choreography, arts, theater and more.” -Taylor Garcia, Admissions Director, The Sacred Heart School

The benefits of performing on stage also impacted their self-confidence, as one of the more reserved children at the Sacred Heart Afterschool Program was able to come out of his shell and perform with confidence, a moment that Afterschool Director Jamora Matthews was truly grateful for. She took to Twitter after the show to express her gratitude. 

“This [The Holiday in Paradise Show] was the best! We are all still blown away by how wonderful he did. You took a shy quiet student and gave him the confidence to do this; you are truly a blessing!” -Jamora Matthews, Afterschool Director, Sacred Heart Afterschool Program 

Jamora wasn’t alone in expressing her gratitude for the experience, as the youth from her program also shared how much they enjoyed working with Lake Worth Playhouse and the opportunity to perform on stage. 

“This program helped me because it gave me the skills for acting and improvisation. It encouraged me to be more confident in my singing and dancing abilities. Thank you Prime Time and Mr. Deshon Allen!” – Keishanna, 8th  Grade, Sacred Heart Afterschool Program 

” This program helped me feel comfortable with other people and showed me how I can always get better at things. It was a fun experience, and I made a lot of friends in the process and I enjoyed acting out for the final show!” – Diego, 5th  Grade, Sacred Heart Afterschool Program 

Hearing the impact that he and his fellow teaching artists can have with youth in such a short amount of time reason is why Deshon has spent the last ten years working with youth through the Lake Worth Playhouse. 

“We collaborate with the youth to learn their talents and help them, create a musical theater show with choreography, acting, singing and performing at their site. Then, we bring the show to the Playhouse and share it with family and friends for free. This is why I love what I do. It’s not the accolades or award, but to see youth love the theater and performing just as much as I do. It’s just such a rewarding experience to see children who are normally shy and introverted become such a bright star on stage.” – Deshon Allen, Teaching Artist, Lake Worth Play House