Peabody Foundation brings live theatre to over 4,700 Volusia County students

The success of the PAF’s Youth+Art=Success! program is possible thanks to the sold-out Mardi Gras event in February, which raised $50,000.

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  • | 1:00 p.m. June 2, 2022
  • Ormond Beach Observer
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by: Rene Bell Adams

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The first year of the Peabody Foundation’s three-year partnership with Volusia County Schools, through the Foundation’s "Youth+Art=Success!" program, included in-school performances, complimentary tickets to a Broadway tour performance at the Peabody Auditorium, and scholarships offered to every high school in Volusia County. A total of 4,931 VCS students were impacted in PAF's first year of VCS programming.

Youth+Art=Success! student letters. Courtesy photo
Youth+Art=Success! student letters. Courtesy photo

The Peabody Foundation’s in-school performances by Atlantic Coast Theatre for Youth for elementary and middle schools featured 60-minute performances including the Ponce de Leon-centric “Florida Treasures” and “The Time Machine,” an adaptation of the H.G. Wells classic — each performed by ACT. In addition, the students were treated to “The Fairy Tales of Grimm,” a classical 19th Century theatrical melodrama, and the classic Brothers Grimm story “The Elves and the Shoemaker.” All shows were followed by a student/actor Q+A. A total of 18 elementary and middle school performances (11 Title 1 schools) were held throughout the county, reaching a total of 4,721 students.

In April, 200 students and chaperones from Mainland, Spruce Creek and Pine Ridge High Schools received complimentary tickets to attend the Broadway tour performance of "Fiddler on the Roof" at the historic Peabody Auditorium.

To round out the school year, the PAF Scholarship Committee reviewed applications from VCS seniors planning to pursue degrees in the arts. A total of eight scholarships were presented throughout May 2022 to qualified students.

The success of the PAF’s "Youth+Art=Success!" program is possible thanks to the sold-out Mardi Gras event hosted in February by PAF’s all-volunteer Mystic Krewe of the XIIth Night Revelers. The event raised over $50,000 to support PAF's operations and "Youth + Art = Success!" program.

The following donors and arts patrons donated generously to support "Youth+Art=Success!" Adams, Cameron Foundation; Dr. Mary Bennett; Mr. and Mrs. J. Hyatt Brown; Joy Dawso; Joseph and Lisa Mirante; Michael and Christa Strauss; TD Charitable Foundation; Wal-Mart Community Grant Program; and the Women United Volusia Chapter.

“The opportunity to bring the gift of live theatre and education to our community’s students is one of the greatest I’ve enjoyed in my volunteer career,” said Peabody Foundation Board President Rene Bell Adams. “I am truly grateful to our dedicated board of directors and our diligent executive director, Kathy Berman, as well as our enthusiastic Mystic Krewe volunteers, and generous donors throughout the community who were all instrumental in helping us deliver on our mission and in creating this absolutely wonderful partnership with Volusia County Schools. We are all incredibly excited to see what the next two years of the VCS partnership will bring to the students and our community!”

To donate to "Youth+Art=Success!" and help enrich the lives of Volusia County students, please go to or


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