Wednesday, March 23, 2005

This program provides the community with a very important asset- by Edward and Susan Erickson

Date: December 15, 2004

To: Ron Gonzales, Mayor
Pat Dando, Vice Mayor/Councilperson
Del Borgsdorf, City Manager
Sarah Hensley, Dir of PRNS
Gary Okazaki, Park and Rec.
Gerard Manuel, Park and Rec.

From: Edward and Susan Erickson

San Jose, CA 95120

Subject: Young People’s Theater

This letter is in regards to the issue of Budget cuts and its affect on Young People’s Theater.

My daughters, Kailey and Melissa, have both participated in the programs offered by this division of the Park and Recreation Department.

They both attended many sessions of the summer workshops. They learned many techniques specific to acting as well as important overall skills like self-confidence, projection, memorization and group participation. All of the skills have helped them develop into dynamic, straight –A, motivated and self-respected individuals.

Kailey, our 11 year old, has flourished in ways we never expected through her experiences with the productions. She has been in 6 productions in various roles. Her first exposure to theater was when we lived abroad in Scandinavia. Her school had a wonderful Theatre Arts program. When we moved back to San Jose we were disappointed to find that the schools in our “neighborhood” had a deteriorating drama department; from the elementary school to the middle school to the high school. It was appalling to us that with our enormous property taxes, none of these schools has an auditorium or any sort of facility to accommodate a drama program. That is when we turned to Young People’s Theater. They have provided us with an avenue that the School District has been unable to fulfill. If it were not for the dedication and commitment to children’s theater that this organization provides, Kailey would have nowhere to develop and nurture her talents. This program provides the community with a very important asset; a safe, organized, fun environment where children can learn by example and direction the skills necessary to improve their dramatic abilities. The City of San Jose should be proud to offer this service. We ask that you carefully consider the importance of this department when analyzing the budget and necessary cuts. Lowering the funding for this program would be detrimental to the community and it’s children. Not only would you remove one of the few programs that support drama, you would also penalize the community by eliminating the generous donations of food and money to Second Harvest, City Team and the American Cancer Society. Other cities in the area (Campbell) are improving their extracurricular activities for young people. I hope that San Jose will also honor its commitment to the future leader’s of our society. Young People’s Theater is a place where children can follow their dreams and pursue their passions while developing into mature, responsible adults that will some day give back to the community of San Jose.

Please feel free to contact us if you need more information.


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