By: Lilah Davis
DMR (Dreams Made Real) Adventures is a theater organization founded and currently directed by Melissa Charles. It is located at 221 Carlton Road, Suite 4, Charlottesville, VA 22902, near Belmont Pizza. They have several programs, including YAS (Youth Afterschool), Drama Day Camps, annual summer camps, audition training, Dream Team and Junior Stars (Pre-Professional Programs), JTF (Junior Theater Festival), and spring and winter multi-month-long plays and musicals. Another program they have is called the Youth Leadership Program, or YLP for short. The YLP program lets kids from grades 6-12 volunteer at the theater. Through the program, they learn theater skills like backstage work, microphone and soundboard work, and how to operate a lightboard and a spotlight. They can also use the credit they accumulate there to pay for camps or other activities they want to do with DMR. Adults can also volunteer by reaching out, lots of parents volunteer with their kid’s programs, and you can also get jobs at DMR. Volunteering with DMR is a great idea because it teaches you important technical functions, helps you build independence and leadership skills, and gives you a strong, accepting community.
Some people may not be interested in theater. Still, even if you’re not interested in learning how to operate light boards, sound, microphones, computers, and other technical devices, it can be very helpful in the future. Learning how to take care of expensive, heavy equipment also gives you responsibility skills and helps keep you organized. Learning how to use these devices can also help with coding or repairing devices; knowing how to troubleshoot is a great skill to have for any job, and it is a great skill to add to a resume for high school or college students. One of the best things about this is that it is free, and learning about technical programs and how to operate
them are often classes that cost a lot of money, but through volunteering it is free, and you also have opportunities to do other things that encourage creativity like set/stage design, dancing, costume work, and painting.
Independence is a great resource to develop to get through life and become more self-sufficient. It is also good to learn how to be a leader without being imperious. By being put in a leadership role, it helps you build these skills that will help you get through life. You also learn how to do office work, like organizing a Google Drive, making a schedule, planning days, printing/copying documents, filing things, and organizing things in order of importance or alphabetical order. Even if you don’t work an office job, organizational skills will pay off in all careers. You get to work with both kids and adults, and being able to see things from both perspectives is great for marketing and advertising, as well as getting along with people in general.
Working with kids is great because you get to experience on how to guide them, teach them, encourage them, compromise with them, and work with them for any future job that you would have that involves interacting with kids. Working with adults puts you in more of an adult world allowing you to feel more grown up and do tasks typically reserved for adults. Building and painting sets are a great example; working with permanent paint and power tools are tasks adults normally do, with teaching and supervision using power tools and handheld tools are things which can help increase independence and leadership skills. This also helps to learn to pick up after yourself and remind others to do so as well. Lots of the time you don't realize when you leave something behind, and you don’t think about who has to clean it up. Being put in leadership positions can give you more ideas about how to help your community and be responsible.
A lot of people long for people who think, act, and accept them for who they are. The community at DMR Adventures is very open and accepting. They are welcoming to anyone of any background, religion, nationality, gender association, etc. They offer scholarships to people who still want to participate, act, and learn but maybe can’t afford it. They also do payment plans. They work with people to find common interests and have something for everyone. They have quiet spaces and group activities and work hard to make everyone comfortable. Feeling alone in your community is understandable; even if you don’t fit in with some people at DMR there is always a group or a community that you will fit in with. You can dance, you can sing, you can be smart, you can read, you can be quiet, you can work backstage, or you can shine onstage, you could do everything or only some things. Acceptance can be hard to find, but DMR does a great job of helping people find their place, making sure they understand how you want to be addressed, who you want to talk to, and have zero tolerance for bullying, actions, or speech that might or does make a people uncomfortable. All of the staff and volunteers there work hard to listen and make people feel welcome and are always there to talk.
The benefits of volunteering at DMR Adventures include learning important technical skills, building independence and leadership, and becoming part of a supportive and accepting community. Even if you're not interested in theater, learning technical aspects of it can be helpful in future jobs. Learning how to care for and use things like light boards, microphones, and stage lights can help you with other technical jobs. Learning skills like leadership and independence will help people as they get older. Seeing both kid and adult perspectives can help with understanding, empathy, and targeted audience. Learning how to operate and use power tools can help your handiness as you get older. Responsibility is another great skill you can learn from working with all these different people and objects. A sense of community is a great thing to feel; even if one group doesn’t make you feel at home, there are always people at DMR Adventures, whether it’s parents, staff, or kids that you can find to hang out with, and connect to. Volunteering helps your community and can help make you feel more self-confident, independent, and contribute to your responsibility and leadership skills.
About the Author:
Lilah D. is a member of the Youth Leadership Program at DMR Adventures and a frequent actress and volunteer. Her favorite things about DMR are the friends she makes, the sense of community, the productions, the inclusivity they offer, and the amazing team behind it all. DMR is a great local place to be and is very convenient to lots of places like Decades Arcade and Belmont Pizza.
If you want to know more about DMR Adventures, you can visit their website: DMR Adventures
Their social media is linked on their website, but here are the links:
Instagram: DMR Adventures (@dmradventures) • Instagram photos and videos
Facebook: DMR Adventures - Home | Facebook
Twitter: DMR Adventures (@dmradventures) / Twitter