MIDLANDS DONNER DAY: Local charity event helps show continue at Columbia Children’s Theater

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Nonprofits do a lot of good in the community but sometimes need a little financial help.

Luckily, the Central Carolina Community Foundation is dedicating a special day to a contest to raise money for nonprofit organizations.

Founded in 2005, Columbia Children’s Theater began by producing shows for children.

“As this lineup grew, we added classes and camps,” said Paul Lindley, director of education at Columbia Children’s Theater. “From there was born our theater program for young people which offers several shows throughout the season with young actors. We have a program for elementary, middle and high school.

Money raised from Midlands Gives Day helps fund the theater and enables it to reduce performance costs and reach more children through scholarships for its camps and classes.

“We use theater as this outlet where they can embody other characters and develop their empathy through that,” Lindley said. “Also, in general, they can have fun producing theatrical works.”

It may seem like there’s nothing in the back corner of the near-empty Richland Mall, but inside is a world of its own.

“As theater, we emphasize the importance of acceptance and expression and being a place where you can come and be yourself and express yourself in your own way,” Lindley said.

As children learn theater skills, they also learn things they can apply in other areas of life beyond the stage.

“I’ve seen kids go from being shy little 6th graders to becoming their high school president and making moves. It’s a specific example, but it’s fresh in my memory,” the principal said. “I’m really proud of the confidence that kids have in other ways to grow through this program.”

Children’s Theater is just one of more than 500 nonprofit organizations you can donate to in the 11-county area served by the Central Carolina Community Foundation.

“What I find really cool about Midlands Gives is that you can find something to give away,” Lindley said.

Last year Midlands Gives Day raised over $3 million.

Midlands Gives Day is May 3, but you can go ahead and start giving. Learn more here.

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