Name: Stephanie Ferreira
From: Chicago, Illinois
School: School of the Art Institute of Chicago
I work voluntarily on a nonprofit musical with Autistic Children;
called Uma Sinfonia Diferente (A Different Symphony). This musical
consist into a whole year of rehearsals and activities; during the
rehearsals the children are stimulated with music therapy; and we
promote picnics, little parties, camping… The musical happened for
the first time in September of 2015.
I am passionate about art and music, and when I received the
opportunity to help those kids and their families trough a musical I
could not deny the invitation.
In 2015 I worked as the stage designer, For one part of the scenography
I asked for the kids’ participation; each one painted their own
puzzle piece that was going to be on the stage. The children really
applied their selves to that task and the outcome was art pieces with
beauty and self-expression bonded to it.
After this experience I decided to get more involved, so I was invited to
become the producer of the musical; currently I am using all my
available time to work on the musical.
My duty consists in finding investors and resources, and take care of
the finances. It is challenging due to my early age, however, I have
wise and experienced people by my side that help me as advisors. More
challenging than breaking the paradigms concerning my age is to reach
the children; to make bonds with them. These children construct a
barrier around their intelligence, and after passing trough that you
get amazed about how much you are able to learn with them.
Definitely What make worth the amount of work is the happiness of the child; a
child that used to be so distant from the others stand on the stage
singing to an audience and smiling. Besides the big moment of the
spectacle, the whole process of the musical helps the unit of the
family and stimulate the neuroplasticit of those children, their
progress are amazing during the year.
I am a visual artist, and after having this experience I could not
picture myself as being just an artist in the future; I want to help
other people with art, so I decided to become an art therapist,
working with neurological recovery.
I see Forward looking as a looking without misconception, without
imposing wrong limitations. An individual with autism in a stage
means that he is capable as many individuals; I as a producer of a
musical shows that a girl of 19 years old is smart enough and brave
enough to be a professional, that is forward looking.
The world is already changing the vision about autism, however, it stills
not enough. I want to show the world how smart and capable they are,
and how beautiful and complex are their vision of the world. I am
certain that this musical will be remembered for years, and will
enable other projects to happen; it is only the start of a movement
that will change how autism is seen by the community.
QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED IN YOUR ESSAY / APPLICATION:
What is the area in which you have chosen to volunteer (e.g.,
homelessness, anti-drunk driving, youth art programs, etc.).? Why did
you choose it?
How many hours per year / week / month have you volunteered?
What are / were your responsibilities as a volunteer?
What has been your biggest challenge as a volunteer?
What has giving you the most satisfaction as a volunteer?
What have you learned from your volunteer position?
How are your interests and career goals in alignment with that volunteer
focus, or perhaps not?
Looking towards the future, how do you see your activities as “forward
looking?” What does “forward looking” mean to you?
What change do you seek to foster in the world via your volunteer
If you were to come back in ten, twenty, or even thirty, years do you
think your volunteer activities would have “made
a difference?” How