When Maryn Shank started thinking about a charitable partner for her Bat Mitzvah project she wanted to find an organization that fits her passions and her personality. As a 7th grader, she is very involved in her middle school drama club and she worked with her teacher, Tiffany Lutz who connected her to the Educational Theatre Foundation. Maryn learned about the Thespian Relief Fund which helps school theatre programs in need. She wanted to raise money for schools that are struggling to maintain programs due to closures and pandemic-related box office losses.
A student at North Broward Preparatory School, Maryn does not take her school theatre program for granted and said “I am extremely lucky to attend a school with such an amazing and strong performing arts program. It has truly become my passion. There are kids all around this country that have that same passion as I do or do not know that passion is even inside them until they are exposed to an arts program. Giving back is doing what I can to raise awareness and funds to help others find or continue their passion and not let money stand in the way of finding that passion.”
Maryn began her fundraising efforts on the opening night of The Adams Family, her middle school show. Before the curtain went up, she told the audience about the Thespian Relief Fund and encouraged them to donate via a QR code in the virtual Playbill and a text-to-give number. She raised over $1,500.
That was only the beginning. In December Ms. Lutz helped Maryn host “Frosty Fest”, a virtual coffee hour that included celebrity appearances from Andrew Lippa and Jennifer DiNoia who played Elphaba on Broadway plus Thespian troupe performances.
“Frosty Fest was a wonderful evening of holiday cheer and we were so honored to have Mr. Lippa and Ms. DiNoia join us to share their stories and chat with the troupe. Maryn was a fantastic host and did a great job planning the event!” said Ms. Lutz.
This won’t be the end for Maryn’s philanthropic efforts. According to her father Ben Shank, “Maryn has learned a lot from this experience. She now knows one voice can make a difference for many. She is excited to continue her efforts to help raise awareness and funds for ETF”. Click here for more information on the Thespian Relief Fund.