Project RISE Hosts Dinner Theatre for Families Experiencing Homelessness in Collaboration with First United Methodist Church and Magical Theatre Company


On May 23rd, several families experiencing homelessness were able to experience a special Dinner Theatre Event hosted by Project RISE and First United Methodist Church in Akron. This special event was part of the Project RISE PACT (Performing Arts Can Teach) Program.

The PACT program is just one of several special programs under Project RISE. The PACT program is one of the core programs for Project RISE because it meets the educational, social, and cultural needs of the students and families served.

The Beautiful Backdrop and Props on the Stage.  Project RISE (Realizing Individual Strength Through Education) is a collaborative effort by Akron Public Schools, local shelters and the Akron community to provide supplemental educational services to youth experiencing homelessness. So far, close to 1,800 students have been identified and served by Project RISE for the 2015-2016 school year.


Attendees of the dinner theatre event enjoyed a wonderful dinner provided by the church, information tables and activities provided by several community partners and a performance of Alice in Wonderland. The lively play was performed by actors from the Magical Theatre Company of Barberton. Attendees were given educational Study Guides with activities and information to review before the show.

Before the dinner, attendees were invited to have their face painted in Alice in Wonderland style. The face painting was provided by Daniel Hughes, Project RISE Staff member and art teacher at Roswell Kent Middle School. Mr. Hughes also had help from several of his students.


The dinner portion of the Dinner Theatre Events was coordinated by Lila Nissel and the team of volunteers at First United Methodist. Tables were decorative with floral centerpieces and beautiful place settings.

guyswithfoodProject RISE Staff Members Vince Buzzelli (left)
and Alex Kostenko (right) Help Serve the Delicious Dinner.

Before dinner, participants had the opportunity to visit several craft and information tables. Representatives from Akron’s Main Library, Kathy Marten and Sarah Rosenberger, provided special Alice in Wonderland crafts that delighted attendees of all ages.

Children and Books (CAB) of Akron had a giveaway table in which each child was given a new book.

After the performance, participants were invited to visit a final giveaway table where Project RISE was giving away several items that had been donated to the program. The giveaways included school supplies, books, hygiene bags, Akron Public Schools Canvas bags and even special flannel pillowcases that were made by student from North High School. The hygiene bags were donated by Kathy Romito at Western Reserve Hospital and included dental products, hygiene information and other toiletries.


ladyattableProject RISE Staff Member, Ellen Sorm,
Helps with the Giveaway Table.

The special Dinner Theatre event was organized by Rachel Breece of Project RISE alongside Debra Manteghi and Lila Nissel. Ms. Breece helps coordinate the PACT Programming throughout the school year.

Project RISE looks forward to sharing more PACT events with the families and students. Project RISE especially thanks Akron Community Foundation for its generous financial support of the PACT Program. For more information about Project RISE, please contact Debra Manteghi at 330-761-2969.

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