Taking the Future into Their Own Hands

Just had a knock at the door — it was Mia. She stopped by to tell me about the brilliant plan that she and fellow neighborkid Talia have hatched. (Mia is incredibly modest — “brilliant” is my word for the plan.)

Today kids at Gocio Elementary found out who got a part in this year’s play, which will be Willy Wonka. As Mia said, “lots of kids were sad” to find out they did not get a part. So Mia and Talia decided to organize all of the other kids who want to be in the play, to put on their own version.

Talia snagged a copy of the script from her older sister to figure out how many parts there are in the play. Their rule is that any kids can be in the play, even if they “have a record,” so long as they want to act and sing. “Even kindergarteners,” who were not allowed to audition for the school play.

And each kid gets to decide together with co-producers Mia and Talia which part suits them best, instead of simply being assigned a role.

So far, 21 kids have signed up to be in the alternative production. They are already strategizing about how to make costumes too. Doesn’t this sound like a kids’ version of the The Sarasota Fringe Film Festival?! These kids are truly phenomenal….

Re-posted by permission of the Sarasota Community Studio. Photo by Alison Pinto.

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About the Lead Author

Allison Pinto
Dr. Allison Pinto is a licensed clinical child psychologist with a specialization in infant mental health and Co-Executive Director of the Sarasota Community Studio.  After earning a Ph.D. at UCLA, she served as a clinical program director and training director in a Los Angeles community mental health center. Upon moving to Tampa she joined the faculty of the Florida Mental Health Institute at the University of South Florida, providing consultation to communities across the country seeking to develop Systems of Care for children’s mental health.  Dr. Pinto also worked at the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, facilitating community change efforts throughout the county.   She served as Principal Investigator of the "Communiplexity” Initiative, a collaborative established to develop complexity-informed resources for community sustainability.  After moving to Sarasota she established Banyan Sprout, Inc., a private practice of child psychology and community well-being focused on her home neighborhood of Central-Cocoanut – a precursor to the Sarasota Community Studio.  Through Banyan Sprout, she was contracted to design and direct the Community Data and Neighborhoods Initiatives at SCOPE, a non-profit community engagement organization.  This led to the formation of the Community Data Collaborative of Sarasota County, a network of over 50 individuals from a diversity of neighborhoods and institutions developing resident-centric, neighborhood-scale community data resources to inform local community change efforts.  Dr. Pinto has served on the Training Task Force of ZERO TO THREE: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families, and on the APA Presidential Task Force on Psychological Needs of U.S Military Service Members and Their Families.  She has presented at a variety of national conferences on children’s mental health, community change and complexity science.

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