I am a single mom that has raised 3 daughters on my own since they were 5, 7, and 8. My youngest two have greatly benefitted from the Step Program that started 5 years ago. Isabela had her first leading role as a 7th grader, and I have to tell you that it gave her so much confidence, encouragement and has helped her to succeed not only in the arts but also academically throughout the coming years of school. She starred as Gertrude in Suessical the Musical, and just recently played in Mary Poppins. Every year she has participated in this tuition free program, she has grown and matured. Children today need as many opportunities as possible to improve their self-esteem and learn how to stand on their own throughout their young teenage life. I am so grateful to have this program, and this past year from the overwhelming children’s interest with the production of Mary Poppins, Jr., the Backstage Theatre offered a double cast to accommodate everyone who wanted to participate and each cast performed two shows. My daughters Isabela and Sophie have benefited so much by this program. Sophie is now a Sophomore in College and is continuing to pursue music for a career. Isabela now a Junior at Summit High School wants to be able to continue with this program so she will get further education and performance opportunities. Participating in STEP has led her to want to continue in the theatre after she graduates in two years. Her passion and dream is to be on Broadway, and when she makes it, this program will be one of the major contributing factors for her great accomplishment. Given this chance to perform is so important to children’s continued growth. I can’t stress enough how beneficial this program is for all children’s well being, development, and confidence. It has benefited my family so much, and I would love it to continue for others to have the chance to perform and grow from it like my daughters did.