Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Hermione, a 4-year-old student in Dance Your Dreams!
  When Debra and Alan Jenkins took their first steps through the threshold of the dilapidating,
hand-me-down building that Merrimack Hall once was, they never could have fathomed the sincere amount of teardrops that would trickle down the faces of the families who watched their children perform onstage during Believe this December. Whether it be Down syndrome, cerebral palsey or autism, each child and young adult performer has some type of special need; however what truly makes them special is their pure perserverance and innocent determination that outshines what society and even doctors have limited them to be in life.

Project UP singing "Deck the Rooftop"
  This past December 1st, Merrimack Hall was proud to present Believe, the Johnny Stallings Arts Program holiday production. Almost 75 children took to the stage throughout the night as they performed to holiday classics. With reindeer, Santa costumes and snow at the finale, the show was the highlight of the season. These children attend weekly dance and musical theatre classes at Merrimack Hall. Each of them face some type of disability which is why the staff and volunteers at Merrimack are dedicated to not just assisting these students, but helping improve their quality of life physically, emotionally and socially.

Little girls from Dance Your Dreams! listening for reindeer
 It's more than just being a philanthropic advocate for children with special needs. Everyday one can see advertisments, telelvision commericals and printed materials that promote helping children around the world. The vision behind Merrimack Hall's Johnny Stallings Arts Program is to provide a place to belong for people who are born with disablities. For those who are born in perfect health, with all of your chromosomes, beautifully functioning legs and arms, or even a nervous system that sends all the right signals to your brain, you have been given a pleuthra of opportunities to become a writer, dancer, singer, athlete, scientist and even an artist.

Darby, who wants to be a writer, performing her solo
 For the individuals who show up to our classes,
their options are scarce, especially in North
Alabama. Merrimack Hall is seen as their place to dream of what they want to be because here, in our dance studio, on our theatre stage, or even in the art house, those dreams come to life as their own.

This holiday season, Merrimack Hall, a nonprofit 501(c)3, is accepting donations to help fund our growing outreach program. Visit our website to find out more about sponsoring a child in our program.

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