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Random Acts of Theatre Company (a Freedom Foundation project) strives to create a safe and positive environment for children and adults to express themselves through the performing arts, and provides each committed actor with the guidance to reach their full creative potential.
As a result of providing a caring and professional atmosphere, participants in the theatre program have the opportunity to develop lasting skills as they apply the lessons that are taught through music development, acting techniques, and discipline through commitment to rehearsal schedules. They also have the opportunity to learn fundamental teamwork skills through close interactions between people of different races, economic classes, and physical abilities.
Driven by God’s love and commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself, the Freedom Foundation’s mission is to build communities by supporting other nonprofit organizations, schools, local government, and youth programs in the community, and by working with young people to help them identify and reach their potential.
The Freedom Foundation was created to reignite the idea of a “beloved community” where people from all walks of life work together for the greater good of the community. Since its inception as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the Freedom Foundation has focused on building beloved communities through bettering one individual life at a time, as well as providing support to community organizations.
Born out of a small grass-roots movement by Christian volunteers, the Freedom Foundation was created to reach out to the community beyond the walls of a church.
The Foundation is built on the principles of Luke 10:27-37, the parable of the Good Samaritan. In this parable, Jesus gives the disciples an example of how to fulfill the law: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Random Acts of Theatre Company
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Random Acts of Theatre Company has produced Footloose, One Night Only and Seussical the Musical, which had a cast of 55 as well as a large support crew behind the scenes.
Selma and the surrounding Dallas County area routinely rank as one of the poorest areas in the United States. Challenged by poverty, Dallas County suffers from population decline, lack of economic opportunities, and inadequate education and healthcare. For many in Selma, a lifetime of poverty has stripped them of hope.
• Almost 80% of children live in high-poverty neighborhoods.
• 40% of children live in below-poverty level households.
• 80% of children living in the Black Belt qualify for the federal free lunch program.
For many families, meeting basic needs is a daily struggle due to a lack of education and training, limited employment opportunities, and below-average household incomes.
•Unemployment is 6.6%, compared to the national unemployment rate of 5.0%.
•Only 14% of all residents have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher.
•The median household income is $24,684, about $12,000 less than the state’s median income.
Fifty-three percent of homes are led by a single parent with a median income of $9,279 for single mother families.
Children make up one quarter of the county’s population, and are particularly vulnerable to health concerns and high-risk behavior. Education experts assert that children living in poverty are less likely to finish high school, attend college, and obtain jobs that will make them financially self-sufficient. Children in poverty are also more likely to use drugs, engage in other risky behaviors, and suffer from environmental health problems.
RATco provides an outlet for these at-risk youth.
Random Acts of Theatre Company will perform four quality productions in 2009 and provide an opportunity for the citizens of Selma (specifically youth) to work together in a cohesive team environment.
These culturally-enriching productions are designed to be inclusive, and to help revitalize the heart of the city with uplifting and positive events for people to attend.
Offer various youth programs to instill a sense of unity and commitment to the community, as well as give youth an expanded vision of possibilities in their individual lives.
The Foundation will place an equal emphasis on leadership development, personal growth and volunteerism to help grow civic-minded community members.
Youth Activities Council
The Youth Activities Council is responsible for organizing monthly social and service learning projects for the youth of Selma. The Council has already held social events like a bowl-a-thon, a day at the skating rink and Water Olympics. Service projects have included work days in the Riverview Neighborhood, and a city wide clean-up day.
The Youth Advisory Board (a part of the Youth Activities Council) is a student group comprised of a diverse group of students from five local city and county high schools. The students will be responsible for planning and implementing events for their peers. Additionally, Youth Advisory Board members will assist with the program development of the Selma Youth Institute, help identify needs for youth programming in Dallas County, and plan and facilitate youth events. This allows students to develop leadership skills, while learning how to address the concerns and issues of their peers.
Mark Duke’s journey began on the country roads of North Carolina where he grew up with a love for the church and God’s people. Mark received his Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Seminary in Wake Forest, NC, and volunteered as a lay minister with Reid Harden of the SBC Home Mission Board in Atlanta, GA from 1988-1995.
God gave him favor in Corporate America where he worked in Human Resources for 25 years. He worked for Fortune 500 companies such as Sprint in Atlanta, TCI in Chicago, and at AT&T in Denver as Vice President of Human Resources and National Recruitment. He ended his corporate career in Denver, Colorado at MDC Holdings, another Fortune 500 Company where he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Human Relations Officer. These companies hired Mark to lead culture changes, develop leadership, train employees, and oversee recruiting and employee retention.
In 2005, Mark retired from Corporate America to focus his time and effort in leading the Freedom Foundation. Though he doesn’t receive a salary from the foundation, he spends his time and energy to lead the foundation in its efforts to restore the Tepper’s Building into a community center which will house a coffee shop, youth programs and other community services.
Mark has lived in Selma since January 2007 with his wife Becky and their three children William, Abbie and Maddie.
Dr. Margaret Hardy
PO Box 715
Selma, AL 36701
Phone: (334) 375-3606
A Gift Card
Arts and Culture
Feed an Artist
Dinner for "tech week"
The gift provides dinner for one during tech week (the week leading up to the performance). Many of the young people come from low-income families and love to spend their evenings with positive role models from RATco. They get hungry as they polish their acts and get ready to provide a professional, quality experience for the community. This gift feeds them and their futures at...
Promote the Arts
Community Theater Ad
The gift will pay to air a commercial featuring audition and production information. Random Acts of Theatre provides a positive outlet for creativity. It will help get the word out about a program that had the young people talking (and singing, acting and dancing!): “I have fun and now have more people to talk to. I used to not have a lot of friends but...
Dress a Diva!
A gift of $10 provides the costume for one youth from a low-income household. For each performance, youths receive 12 weeks of professional voice, dance and acting training through Random Acts of Theatre. RATco also provides a positive outlet for youthful energy and an alternative to the risky behaviors to which they are particularly vulnerable. The end result? Improved confidence for each performer and a...
Make up an Artist
A gift of $5 provides the makeup for one youth from a low-income household. For each performance, youths receive 12 weeks of professional voice, dance and acting training through Random Acts of Theatre. RATco also provides a positive outlet for youthful energy and an alternative to the risky behaviors to which they are particularly vulnerable. The end result? Improved confidence for each performer and a...
Dress a Performer
One Costume and Makeup
A gift of $15 provides the makeup and costume for one youth from a low-income household. For each performance, youths receive 12 weeks of professional voice, dance and acting training through Random Acts of Theatre. RATco also provides a positive outlet for youthful energy and an alternative to the risky behaviors to which they are particularly vulnerable. The end result? Improved confidence for each performer...
Build Self Esteem
12 Weeks of Training
Gives a young person from a low-income family the opportunity to get involved with Random Acts of Theatre and receive professional voice, dance and acting training for 12 weeks. The end result? Improved confidence for each performer and a professional musical performance for all.