Kids for Kids

Imagine a simple mosquito net giving hope to a boy or girl. In London, we might stick the item in an attic, but in Darfur, Sudan, sleeping under the covering can mean the difference between staying alive and healthy or contracting a deadly strain of malaria.

In this struggle to improve lives, I’m seeing how the arts is a powerful tool.

Working with children has been a lifelong passion of mine and quite a natural one, really, ever since teaching dance during my teenage years in Essex. At age 14, I was an instructor at the local youth centre, helping kids who couldn’t pay for classes. In the summer, I supervised dance camps for boys and girls from around Essex.

After graduating from Drama Centre London and embarking on my acting career, parallel opportunities working with eager children opened for me.

At Her Majesty’s theatre in the West End, I worked as creative director for a showing of Romeo and Juliet and the teen performers let me prepare and shape them for scenes which were daunting to tackle. The challenges of taking raw talent and guiding the kids from no experience to audience-worthy performances in short order requires total commitment.

It culminated in a show that the audience called “breathtaking” and “an experience the children will never forget.”

Instilling confidence and courage in others is personally and professionally rewarding.

My on-going work with young performers led me to stumble across the charity Kids for Kids and their work in Darfur that I find critically important and inspiring.

I was speaking with a journalist about my lead in The Prowler during a recent Christmas season. We chatted about holiday concerts and I brought up my work with Stagecoach Primrose Hill, and how satisfying it was to see shy kids belt out a song or someone who stumbled over their own feet learn how to dance gracefully. 

He urged me to meet Patricia Parker, MBE, the founder of Kids for Kids, and felt that a connection was inevitable.

It was. I saw how the spirit of my students could rally others and inspire whole families to get involved.

It’s a popular notion that actors and artists are wrapped up in themselves, but I see it differently. After all, doesn’t every production whether film, TV, or stage require collaboration?

Our students range from 6 years old up to age 19 and they were thrilled to hear about Kids for Kids. Talk about working together!

We started by writing and producing an original song that we’ll upload to the charity’s website to inspire others to get involved.

But that’s not all. Our students came up with their own ideas to raise money to buy goats and donkeys to help families in Sudan survive. The east African nation is vastly different than our world, but the kids’ enthusiasm is so strong that Stagecoach Primrose Hill is now working with Kids for Kids to adopt a village in Sudan.

Patricia’s initial visit with me has turned in to an exciting adventure.

My own parents instilled a love for stories and music in me that became my life’s work, and I’m thrilled to pass that same passion along to a new generation of boys and girls. They, in turn, are using their skills and talents to benefit kids they’ve never met.

The arts are exciting. Music, dance, and acting can help us look beyond ourselves and move us to share our blessings with others.

If you could, take a moment and click on this link:

Donate to Kids for Kids

Visit the Kids for Kids website and see the different ways you can contribute. It might spark an adventure of your own like it has for me.