Liz's Story 

Liz understands the importance of theatre in her children’s lives.  She asked after her children were born, “How do we all go together?  Go to TOY, of course!”

Liz and her family look forward to coming to Theatre of Youth every year.  After a performance of Elephant and Piggie’s “We Are In a Play!”, her kids dressed up as the main characters for Halloween.  “That is part of theatre, right?  Bringing those characters to life.”  Fast-forward three years, and Liz’s family continues to be moved by performances.  “I felt like I was 10 years old again," Liz said about her experience at A Charlie Brown Christmas.  TOY’s powerful, nostalgic performances continue to ignite the imagination of her and her family.

 Liz knows how hard it can be to find a place in the community where Ryan, her youngest son who has a sensory sensitivity, can come and feel comfortable with his family.  She values the safe, comfortable environment that TOY provides for her family.  Ryan can come to TOY and “just be himself” at the Sensory-Friendly performances.   He can sit where he wants, move as he needs to, and can talk to the characters he feels so connected with after the performance.  She recalls how impacted he was by a performance of Pinkalicious; he still carries his doll today. 

“As the years move on, and the gap between my boys gets larger and larger, there are less and less things that we can do together.  This is that thing.”  Liz knows that her family can come to TOY, explore, relax, and enjoy with no expectations.  Theatre of Youth allows Liz to connect with her family and see the wonders of childhood through her children’s eyes.

We have accumulated a lot of stories over our 47-year history.  There is Liz's story;  the family who was able to talk about mortality following Tuck Everlasting or bullying after Number the Stars.  There is the shy, young girl who was worried about taking a workshop only to gain the confidence to perform a solo by the end of the week.  Or there is the child with special needs who hadn’t talked all summer long.  After watching a TOY performance with his classmates, he chased after the actors begging them to come back.  Or there is the child that remarks “that play was about me.”  Truth is, that is a lot of kids…

Everything we do here at TOY is about the children in your life.  It’s about their wonders and worries.  As adults, we might look at a play about losing a pen, losing a friend, or not getting the part we wanted in the Christmas play as cute, but kids don’t see it that way.  For them, they’ve never experienced it before.  Everything is so new, so life-changing.  How we treat these moments as adults will make a profound difference in the lives of our children.  And that is why TOY exists…

A gift to TOY's annual fund ensures children have these enriching experiences.  Your gift inspires imaginations, sparks curiosity, and builds creative confidence in children across WNY through our Mainstage plays, Talkback, theatre workshops, and touring productions. 

Be a hero for the youth of WNY with a gift to TOY…


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Volunteer - Theatre of Youth is always looking for volunteer ushers for public and school time performances.  You are free to select shows, dates, and times.  But TOY is not the only beneficiary; volunteers are eligible for complimentary and discounted tickets ! Contact Michelle Tsoukatos, TOY's Box Offiec Manager, and she'll be in touch with opportunities!

Will or Estate Plans - Should you wish to include TOY in your future financial plans, please let us know.  Managing Director Tracy Snyder would be happy to sit down with you to discuss options.

Amazon Smile - Leverage the power of your online shopping with Amazon Smile.  Designate Theatre of Youth as your charity and for every dollar you spend, Amazon - not you - donates .5% of the purchase price to TOY!

Employer Match Program - many places of work have employer match programs that will match your donations dollar for dollar up to a certain amount.  Check with your organization to see if they participate!



According to the Giving Tuesday website, "#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving."

Theatre of Youth appreciates your consideration for including us in your giving plans this holiday season.  While we earn revenue through ticket sales, a gap of 35% remains that we must raise through donations.  Your gift ensures that we can continue to provide WNY children with the very best in professional theatre.