Susan Arnold

and Esther Almazan


    Clean and Sober Theater

C.A.S.T Encore is a performing arts program delivered by Compass Behavioral Health Care. Thanks to Connecting Communities Foundation, Y.E.S. Network and the Myers Neighborhood Association, this program was brought to Myers-Ganoung Elementary School. The program allowed students to write their own scripts based on their own experiences and perform their pieces in front of peers and family. On May 4th, 2011, students from Myers-Ganoung Elementary School starred in thier very own play "The Land of Everything".



May 2011 



Curtain Up

 By Anne Dalton


An original play written by students at the Myers-Ganoung Elementary School will be performed on May 4. The play is sponsored by the Connecting Communities Foundation grant for the Myers Neighborhood Association and contract with the Clean And Sober Theatre in Tucson.

Vickie  Mesimer, president of the Myers Neighborhood Association, spoke on the importance of the project.

"The CCF grant was absolutely fantastic," she said. "Since we are a family-oriented neighborhood, we were hoping to reach younger families. The association has been trying to get together with the school and this was perfect timing," she said.

Susan Arnold, director of CAST, works for COMPASS, a behavioral health provider in Tucson. She trains students of all ages in theatre arts. This helps them develop a voice and perspective on the challenges life throws at them.

Eighteen students will perform the work they began in January. Although they knew very little about theatre in the beginning, their horizons were broadened as they learned story structure and character and plot development.

Esther Almazon, production assistant, helped with rehearsals and was impressed with the students' progress.

"It's amazing," she said. "Most of the kids have no theatre experience. You think in the beginning they won't be wanting to do anything and then soon, they are all dying to. The exercises help them learn to express themselves."

Almazon, 48, has other friends and family members involved with CAST. She said she loves using theatre arts as a way to make a difference in people's lives.

The story is set in the Land of Nothing where there is nothing to do, not enough possibilities and day-to-day troubles. The main character, Mijo, wanders away from his friends there and discovers the Land of Everything. He returns to tell them about it and brings a slice of a perfect pizza with him. 

When he departs and doesn't return, they soon go in search of Mijo and all the other things his land promises to offer.

In the process, a mix of characters from Greek mythology, Romeo and Juliet and modern stereotypes help them figure out what is really important in life.

Almazon found that working with the MGES students was a great experience.

"I've worked with kids through most of my adult life and this was an excellent group. They were really focused," she said.

Writing the play is a framework in which more important lessons are hung, Responsibility, team work, honesty and creativity are some of these. Writing exercises, group discussions and building clay bridges to solve problems are all part of the process.

Arnold uses a weekly survey gauging how students feel about themselves, being there and relationships between team members.

She said students' interactions with each other changed overtime.

"Tattling has stopped," Arnold said. "They catch themselves now. Instead of complaining about others, they say, 'I wasn't very nice to someone today.' Honesty has grown," she said.

Anyone who wants to find out what the students decided is important in life can attend the performance for free at 10:00 A.M. in the school auditorium on May 4.





Destination Drama goes to Myers-Ganoung Elementary School



In February, YES Network won a grant from PIPICOR LogoCOR to implement a creative expression program at Myers-Ganoung. With funding from the grant and some extra support from Connecting Communities Foundation, Destination Drama, a performing arts program delivered by Live Theatre Workshop, began at Myers-Ganoung in March. The program will run for eight weeks and end in a performance of Snow White. Students in this program learn theatre skills such as memorization, set design and stage direction.  The students also gain skills such as teamwork, commitment and build self- confidence.  Currently the program has 23 students ranging from 2nd to 5th grade all eager to learn their lines and perform in front of their peers and family.

Please join us on May17th at 10:00am to see the children's  preformance of Dr. Doolittle!

Call 520-297-0702 for details!



Thank you for supporting YES Network in our communities. For more information about the organization or how you can get involved or further support our efforts, please call:


Lisa Winton

Executive Director






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