Children at Home in Intermediate Unit's Theater Production
Kurutz, Daveen Rae, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Wearing a wide-brimmed black hat, an eye patch and a painted moustache, Daelin Harris brandished his foam sword enthusiastically before a crowd of parents and educators.
The 8-year-old boy and his band of "pirates" protested against reading until a "bunny" clad in large sunglasses convinced him to trade his booty for a stack of books.
"I'm a good pirate," Harris said. "This is fun."
Harris was one of 118 children from Allegheny County to participate in Let's Pretend Theater on Friday. The program, sponsored by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit's Homeless Children's Initiative, is designed as an enrichment activity for homeless children and their families.
Each year, there are thousands of homeless children in Southwestern Pennsylvania, said Gail Odorcich, regional coordinator for education of homeless children and youth. Activities such as Let's Pretend Theater give them an opportunity to socialize with other children in similar situations, as well as to be exposed to theater arts.
"It's good for their self-esteem," said Odorcich. "It's not always about academics."
While Odorcich oversees programs for the nine counties of Southwestern Pennsylvania, yesterday's event was designed specifically for the 11 shelters in Allegheny County. The children, who ranged in age from infants to early teens, were split into groups to perform three separate plays: Billy Goat Gruff, Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies, and M. …