Violence Needn't Control Us: Play

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 23, 1997 | Go to article overview

Violence Needn't Control Us: Play


Byline: Sheri Buttstadt

Substance abuse and violence often go hand in hand. You read and hear about disturbing occurrences every day.

Whether it's innocent people killed in accidents involving a drunken driver, domestic violence, or turf battles for drug sales, our children feel the effects of violence all around them in real life.

When they turn on the television or go to movies for some diversion, they see more violence passed off as entertainment.

Is it any surprise that our young adults come to feel that violence or using various substances, whether it's illegal drugs or alcohol, is an acceptable, normal way of dealing with life's problems?

Thankfully in Elgin, there are dedicated people working at the Renz Prevention Center who reach out to kids and show them alternatives.

Saturday at 11 a.m., Renz Prevention Center will present a play, "Peace4," in the auditorium at Elgin Area Unit District 46 headquarters (the old Elgin High School), 355 E. Chicago St. The play is suitable for junior high and high school students.

The play, by Nambi E. Kelly, will be performed by Health Works, a theater company from Chicago. This is the last in a series of four plays presented as part of the agency's second annual Latin American Theater Festival, which ends Saturday.

This play, which is presented in English, enhances communication and empowers our youth to make difference in their own lives.

This powerful violence prevention program helps identify violent and potentially violent situations while offering possible solutions.

The four characters discover they must hold themselves responsible for their own actions. The teens learn they are not victims of our society but survivors of our times and that they hold the power to be role models for peace.

After the play, which is expected to last about 50 minutes, festival organizers will hold a brief closing recognition program.

Carlos Chavez, a bilingual outreach worker at the center, said the idea for the festival came to him while taking a shower.

"I wanted to create a way to encourage young adults, specifically Latinos, to get involved in cultural and artistic events," Chavez said.

He started by sending out letters to organizations in several Fox Valley communities, seeking support for developing a local amateur theater ensemble.

He worked in collaboration with District 46, and received a $1,200 grant from the city of Elgin and the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission. Those funds helped cover the cost of theater rental fees, brochures, props, and more.

Chavez encourages any child interested in trying their hand at theater-related activities, to contact him a the prevention center by calling (847) 697-1221. …

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