CTU Celebration of Our Stars talent show

Payton Reid, Editorial Board

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The MultiCare Good Samaritan Children’s Therapy Unit (CTU) is a program dedicated to helping infants, children, and adolescents with special needs become as independent as possible. Every spring CTU holds a talent show at Emerald Ridge to celebrate the improvements and accomplishments made over the course of the year by individual patients.

Before the show, the children spend time watching movies, playing games, coloring, and talking with high school student volunteers they have been assigned to.

The students and patients spend a few hours together as they get ready for their allotted performance time. The show runs from two p.m. to four p.m. on Saturday, April 22, but volunteer work begins at noon.

Patients are referred to CTU because of developmental issues such as, but not limited to, genetic syndromes, cerebral palsy, neurobehavioral disorders, autism spectrum disorders, Erb’s palsy, and limb deficiencies. Pediatric specialists work as a team with language therapists and psychologists to ensure each patient is properly taken care of. The talent show is a showcase of how much work has gone into taking care of each child, as well as how much they have grown on a very personal and physical level.

Drama teacher Christopher Tavern has been involved in the show for the last six years at Emerald Ridge alongside numerous students who volunteer annually as well.

“You see kids and families who are dealing with a wide variety of challenges, yet they work on it every day, and when we see them at the event they’re smiling and proud of the work they’ve done,” Tavern said.

Though the number of participants varies, some patients return annually to perform as many times as they can, documenting their growth throughout the years.Tavern recalls an act from the first time he volunteered, approximately 9 or 10 years ago, who returned for many years to come and left a lasting impression.

“She had a doll with a matching dress, she came out and sang; then a couple weeks later I got a thank you note from her family in the mail, and that really stood out to me,” Tavern said.

This event is a community effort that leaves volunteers, patients, and their families with a sense of thankfulness and unity when the show is over.

The talent show takes place in the auditorium annually with not only the help of students working hands-on with the children, but also tech work. For those who prefer working behind the scenes, there are numerous jobs that require tech assistance, including running crew, which senior Eric Baril has participated in the past two years.

“I love being able to set up something that will allow the kids to show off what they’ve learned over the year,” Baril said.

Running crew helps set up and take down any props used by the patients, but spotlight, sound, and other tech positions are available. No matter the position, everyone involved takes away something special from the event.

“The things we do every day without struggle is so special to them, and they spend so much time persevering,” Baril said, “I think it’s important for people to learn and connect with that.”

Anyone who wishes to participate can get a volunteer application form from the office next spring, as well as talk with Tavern for more information about tech/running crew. For seniors who wish to take part in the show, applying directly through the CTU program is possible, along with many other opportunities available to work with the children listed online at MultiCare.org. Many require volunteers to be at least 16 years of age, but the talent show is open to anyone willing to partake in the event, whether it’s directly with the children or behind the scenes. Every position is greatly appreciated and welcomed.

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