MIDLANDS GIVES DAY: Local charity event helps the show go on at Columbia Children’s Theatre

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Nonprofit organizations do a lot of good for the community but sometimes need a little help financially.

Fortunately, Central Carolina Community Foundation dedicates a special day as a competition for raising money for nonprofits.

Founded back in 2005, Columbia Children’s Theatre started by just producing shows for kids.

“As that programming grew, we added classes and camps,” said Paul Lindley, director of education at Columbia Children’s Theatre. “Out of that sprang our youth theater program which puts on a number of shows throughout the season with young actors. We have an elementary, middle and high school program.””

The money raised on Midlands Gives Day helps with funding for the theater and allows it to keep show costs down and reach more kids through scholarships for its camps and classes.

“We use theater as that outlet where they can embody other characters and grow their empathy through that,” Lindley said. “Also, in general, they can have fun producing theatrical works.”

It may not look like anything is in the back corner of the mostly empty Richland Mall, but inside is a world all its own.

“As a theater, we stress the importance of acceptance and expression and being a place where you can come and be yourself and express yourself in your own way,” Lindley said.

While the kids learn theater skills, they also learn things they can apply in other areas of life beyond the stage. 

“I’ve seen kids grow from shy, little 6th graders into the president of their high school and making moves. That’s a specific example, but it’s fresh in my memory,” the education director said. “I’m really proud of the confidence in other ways that kids are growing through this program.”

The children’s theater is just one of more than 500 nonprofit organizations you can give to in the 11-county area that the Central Carolina Community Foundation serves.

“What I think is really cool about Midlands Gives is that you can find something to give to,” Lindley said.

Last year, Midlands Gives Day raised more than $3 million.

Midlands Gives Day is on May 3rd, but you can go ahead and start giving. Find out more here.


Categories: Local News, Richland