Change Lives and Change the World with APTP

Change Lives and Change the World with APTP

Dear Friends,


As I begin my senior year with Albany Park Theater Project, I am writing to share how my four years here have prepared me with the vision, skills and knowledge for a life of success and adventure beyond high school. I hope that my story will inspire you to make a year-end donation to make sure APTP can continue to change lives the way it has for me.

During my past year as an ensemble member, I played a lead role in our production of God’s Work at the Goodman Theatre, became an APTP peer facilitator, devised cutting-edge theater with a renowned New York performance company, and embarked on my college application process.

As an APTP peer facilitator, I worked with APTP staff and veteran company members to plan and lead 20 workshops for middle-school students. I felt so much pride leading these workshops and creating a safe, playful space for our “newbies.” The APTP staff’s belief in me gave me the courage to lead the newbies to find their potential and to grow the relationships, vulnerability, and trust that make APTP.

Also this summer, I discovered immersive theater with our guest artists from Third Rail Projects. In one week together, we created a performance about high school that took place throughout an entire building. I performed a scene in a locker room that was experienced by only two audience members at a time. All the walls came down between performers and audience. This new art form pushed me to be vulnerable, and I discovered that opening up in this way allowed for support and sharing that is not possible when I always keep my guard up. This is especially important for me this year, when I’m working with APTP staff and other ensemble members to dream and plan my future.

The summer also began my college counseling with APTP. If it wasn’t for APTP, I honestly don’t know what I would be doing after high school. I never felt like college was right for me because I didn’t think I was capable of doing it. I’m still learning to believe in myself as much as APTP does. Over the last four years, I have watched other APTPians from my same economic situation go on to college and then to careers. Witnessing their success has proved to me that college is the key to unlocking my own success and understanding the world around me.

I have discovered how important it is to have APTP as invested in my success as I am. Every week this summer, I researched two new colleges, then met with APTP staff to discuss whether these colleges might become my educational home. This fall, I visited some of my top colleges with APTP, observing classes, staying in dorms, and interviewing with admissions staff. This month, I am finalizing my applications, with APTP staff by my side.

APTP has opened my eyes to the opportunities that have been, until recently, outside of my comfort zone. APTP has prepared me for an adventure and a future that I now crave.

I am asking you to make a year-end donation to Albany Park Theater Project. With your support, APTP will help future ensemble members just like me—including my younger brother and little sister—discover their paths as artists, students, and innovators.

Thank you for considering a donation. I look forward to writing to you a year from now with a report from my first semester at college.

With gratitude,

Ely Espino

APTP Class of 2015