by Zahira Perez, 17, PTP Community Actor

ZahiraMy name is Zahira and my dreams have come true! I just received an acceptance letter from Babson College, the top entrepreneurship school in the United States!!! I am writing to you to tell you why I owe so much of this success to People’s Theatre Project.

I was born in La Vega, Dominican Republic and moved to the United States at age 11. The change was absolutely radical. I didn't speak the language and knew no one except for my family. It was exciting and terrifying at the same time, and in all honesty, I was not a fan of the city initially. It was crowded, dirty, and there was no space to run around and be free. 

I was not sure I would be able to adjust to this new, limited life. That, however, changed as soon as I met Mino Lora, one of the founders of the People’s Theatre Project, at Harbor Heights Middle School.

It all began with a 6th grade production of Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. For the first time since I arrived, People’s Theatre Project made learning English fun! It was such a new and refreshing experience that from that moment on I knew the stage would be a part of my life for a long time. I have participated in PTP programs for almost 7 years now and have grown so much as a person, an artist and an activist.

Will you join me in giving back to People’s Theatre Project by making a donation online today?

Zahira and castmates on the United Palace stagePTP creates spaces that are safe for us to be who we are, to share our thoughts and ideas and to transform them into something important and beautiful. Being in their programs has also given me an opportunity to share with my community a small portion of what they have given me - my voice.  I've been given the tools and the space to formulate and express my own opinions about important issues, not only in our community but also all over the world.

In October, I was chosen to be People's Theatre Project's Urban Hero and was honored at a gala event in midtown alongside Greta Guggenheim and some amazing young people from across the city. It was an amazing night. I put the communication skills and confidence I've gained from People's Theatre Project to work that evening, and introduced myself to just about everyone in that impressive room. Thanks to People's Theatre Project, I felt like I belonged.

 People’s Theatre Project taught me that we have one purpose - to use our voices to bring change. It is that ideal that I will take with me to college next fall.

Please donate and support the programs that have helped me become the person I am today.