At A Place to Be, we tell the stories of those who conquer challenges and those often overlooked by our society through our Same Sky Project productions to thousands of students. This coming year, we will once again present “Behind the Label” to teach empathy and acceptance in our middle schools, while “A Will to Survive” delivers a message of suicide prevention and hope to high school students (as well as a professional debut at the Kennedy Center).
Now the Same Sky Project presents our most powerful theatrical productions yet: “One Second of Grace.” The idea came from Loudoun High School senior Grace Wheeler to create a show authentically portraying experiences of today’s youth including anxiety disorder, depression, sexuality, gender identity, self-harm, drug use and the pursuit of purpose. “One Second of Grace” continues our ongoing work to foster conversations about mental health and acceptance of those who are different, suffering, without a voice and not fully understood.
After years of working with community organizations, schools and countless teenagers, A Place To Be hopes that by incubating this blunt, realistic look into challenges teens face today we can represent the true voice of today’s young people so that we may understand their generation and help them succeed.
Tom Sweitzer, Executive Director
Missed the show? Check out our promotion for One Second of Grace below!
A Foreword by Grace
Hi, I’m Grace Wheeler or “Grace actual” as my mom says, but you'll all understand in a moment. Most importantly I want to thank you for being here tonight. It means a lot to me and everyone who went into making this possible. Which brings me to why you're here, yes, to see an A Place To Be performance. But currently the number one cause of death for teens in Loudoun County is suicide. That's terrifying. Just about a year ago Tom and I talked about it exactly that. And out of that conversation it lead us to tonight. Where we hope “Grace” and the cast demonstrate an accurate reflection of what's happening to teens right now. It's important that we do this because it could hopefully raise an understanding of what is really happening. And out of this understanding a respect for these obstacles as well.
So while the production and me share a name, it's not personally my story. But it is an unfortunately relevant and similar situation for many others. Unlike Grace, in the show, I don't even go to public school anymore, despite so many people's best efforts. There were things that completely stopped me from functioning. Out of that I have been learning how good change can be. So in a way it almost happened for a reason. Because if I never went through all of that bad, we wouldn't have made it here to tonight. To the good stuff. So thank you and I hope you enjoy.
The premiere of the show was a resounding success. With the support of our community, we were able to reach our Financial Aid Goal and raise over $100,000 to strengthen our ability to provide services to families in need of help. If you or someone you know can benefit from Expressive Arts Therapies, please contact us.
*Every part of this show was thought through and created by the concerns, dreams and needs of A Place To Be teens. The intention was to start a real discussion about Mental Health.*