Theater Outings at Search: Thank you to the Ralla Klepak Foundation
Search for the Performing Arts
Since January 2023, Search has taken over 67 people to 16 theater shows with the support of the Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts. The Ralla Klepak Foundation’s mission is to advance world peace through bringing the joy of the performing arts to individuals with disabilities and disadvantaged youth. Their support has given people at Search the opportunity to go see popular performances around the Chicagoland area, which has been very special.
There have been outings to theatrical performances all across Chicagoland, including Charlie Brown, Les Miserables, Beauty and the Beast, Michael Jackson the Musical and more. Attending the theater shows has brought so much joy to our participants. One woman, Nina, who has lived with Search for many years, attended the Beauty and the Beast show with a group of friends. During the show, she was singing along and swaying with every song. It was wonderful to see how happy and relaxed she was during the performance.
Stephanie, who also saw Beauty and the Beast, shared that “it was very nice. I hadn’t been to the theater in a long time, and I really like it.I’m looking forward to seeing Fiddler on the Roof and other shows soon!”
With this funding, we have also been able to overcome barriers of cost and accessibility to attending theater performances, which includes ADA-accessible transportation options. Six women who live with Search went out to a performance at the Marriott Lincolnshire. All six women either utilize a wheelchair and/or have mobility limitations that often keep them homebound. With the grant from the Foundation, we were able to get a fully accessible van to take them to the performance. We were even lucky enough to have an extremely compassionate driver who also helped us get everyone on and off the van. We have continued to work with this driver, Angel, and he has made our transportation to a variety of theaters accessible. The impact can truly not be understated!
Our theater outings have become a highly anticipated occasion at Search, and people cherish going to shows. Our Community Inclusion Coordinator’s office has been filled with flyers of shows people want to see! People have started to advocate for the shows they most want to see, and we have had high demand for a number of shows. Michael Jackson the Musical was an especially popular show, along with many holiday performances that we’re looking forward to seeing.
These experiences in the performing arts go beyond what we at Search previously thought possible, and the impact of the Ralla Klepak Foundation will be felt for years to come. We are very grateful to the Ralla Klepak Foundation for their ongoing support, and we cannot wait for more nights out at the theater soon.