Monday, January 10, 2005

To Ken Yeager from Guy and Janet Barry

Dear Councilman Yeager:

 Our names are Guy and Janet Berry and we reside in District 6, and have supported you in your present office.  We have been part of the Cambrian/Willow Glen community for twenty years where we have been raising our three children who attend Bagby Elementary, Price Middle, and Branham High.  We have always been very active in the schools as well as in the community.

The purpose of our writing, however, is in regard to the Young People's Theatre (YPT) at the Kirk Community Center.  We know this is located just outside of your District, however, a very large number of participants come from District 6.  We appreciate you motto, "Neighborhoods First" and are asking for your help.  We understand that this program is again being considered in the city's cuts and we're strongly requesting that it would be removed from the cutting block on the 21st of this month. We also want to let you  know how extremely important this program is to the community especially to one of our children. 

As for the community, the program offers the following:

1.  Many students are limited in their school schedules either by budgets or the strict educational standards, and are unable experience drama and the confidence building it does. This program helps to meet that need locally within our immediate community.

2. This program offers children another venue than sports.  Not all will excel sports and their self-esteem damaged in the process. However, there are very few programs offered outside of sports which can so positively influence a child as this program.

3.  YPT has endured previous budget cuts and parents of this program have been promised that it would not be cut. 

4.  From my understanding, YPT is self supporting.  Last year it raised approximately $77,000 to make up for previous cuts.  Registration fees and ticket sales paid for all expenses including scenery and sets, costume supplies, and staff salaries.  The city only pays for Donna Becker and Carole Ferris-Greer.  In fact the YPT even makes money for the city in that a surcharge ($8.00 and $17.00 for non-residents) from each participant puts money directly back into the city's general fund.  Therefore, it does not make sense to cut it. 

5.  This program reaches beyond the immediate families and into the community in that it has raised over $6000 for the American Breast Cancer Society as well as collected over 100,000 quality canned goods for those in need.

6.  In that a theatre was not included in the newly refurbished Camden Community Center there is no other facility set up that meets the local needs of this immediate neighborhood. 

 Personally and most important to us, this program has offered our son, Matt, a place where he has built his self esteem, his leadership skills, and team building skills as well as an opportunity to confidently perform in front of others.  He has created numerous friendships with other kids through this community and beyond the bounds of his school.  As stated above, not all children excel sports such as our son.  However, FYP has been the first program of quality that has allowed him to grow in his interest of acting.  It has given him tremendous confidence and an irreplaceable joy.  It has taught him how to work hard and to be discipled while building lasting relationships and having fun.  Our son has found his self worth in this program and is devestated over the possibility of the program not continuing.  It is one place that we feel that our tax dollars are being used wisely. 

 We know that there are probably plans for the facility, but for the children of this community there has got to be some compromise.

We appreciated you time in reading this letter and would greatly appreciate if Councilman Yeager would get a chance to see it in addition to any assistant.  Please share our thoughts with your colleagues.   We look forward to your response.

Guy and Janet Berry 
1760 Maykirk Ct
San Jose, CA   95124

From: "Yeager, Ken"
Subject: YPT
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2005 17:25:30 -0800

Dear Guy and Janet--Thank you for your email. I am aware of Young People's
Theatre and think as highly of it as you do. I was glad to read what a
profound influence it had on your son, Matt. From talking to Parks,
Recreation anbd Neighborhood Services (PRNS), it sounds like this is one of
many programs that the department has asked to trim some costs because of
the City's budget situation. The City Council doesn't vote on a budget until
June, but the City departments work on the budget proposals much earlier. We
should have more info on different PRNS proposals by March or April. Once I
have more information, I or my staff member, Tony Filice, will get in touch
with you. If you need to contact us before then, feel free to send us
another email or call us directly. Thanks again for taking the
time to write. Ken


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