OMYF Spotlight: Orlando Shakes

by Josh Cohen

ORLANDO – Live theater, both viewing it and participating in it, can help children in a variety of ways. Research has shown it encourages positive social behavior, enhances literacy knowledge and improves emotional health.

With some financial help from the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation (OMYF), live theater will now be more available and visible to youth throughout Central Florida. Earlier this year, Orlando Shakes, which has produced classic, contemporary and children’s plays since 1989, was one of 16 local organizations the Magic donated grant money to.

The $50,000 Orlando Shakes received from OMYF will give children the opportunity to watch live performances right in their school classrooms through live streaming. This particular program Orlando Shakes created makes it possible for students to enjoy live shows without having to necessarily attend their facility.

“This grant money is going to allow us to reach tens of thousands of children in their classrooms who otherwise never would have had an experience to see professional live theater,” said Douglas Love-Ramos, the managing director of Orlando Shakes. “The fact that the Magic are making this happen for them and really changing children’s lives is immeasurable and our gratitude is hopefully just as immeasurable.”

Orlando Shakes, with its engaging professional theater, motivating educational experiences and stimulating new plays, offers an assortment of programs for beginners of live theater as well as those already acquainted with it. From Saturday classes to summer camps and from school field trips to workshops, there is something for everyone at Orlando Shakes, which partners with the University of Central Florida.

Committed to helping children throughout Central Florida realize their full potential, the OMYF has donated more than $25 million to youth over the past 30 years, including over $1 million this season. It was also the 12th time at least $1 million has been distributed through the OMYF since inception.

"On behalf of the entire DeVos family, we are so honored to be able to give back to this great Orlando community each year on this very important day," said Magic Chairman Dan DeVos. "The foundation of our family has always been one surrounded in community work whether it is through time, treasure or whatever you are able to give. It is incredibly important because we all benefit so much from this amazing community. I truly am honored to be able to share in the excitement of all of these very deserving organizations."

The DeVos family’s investment in the OMYF covers all administrative costs which allows for 100 percent of all donations to go directly to the foundation to benefit children and families in need throughout Central Florida each year. The OMYF raises community dollars annually through donations, auctions and events such as the OMYF Open Golf Tournament and the upcoming 2020 Orlando Wine Festival and Auction.

The second annual Orlando Wine Festival and Auction, the signature fundraiser for the OMYF, will be held March 13-15, 2020 at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. The weekend of events is set to feature exclusive vintner dinners, an outdoor festival featuring live music, live auction displays, an e-auction, local and celebrity chefs, wineries, and food pavilions, along with Magic players and coaches. Each guest also receives an invitation to the OMYF grant ceremony, where all funds from the Orlando Wine Festival and Auction will be distributed to local nonprofit organizations. Last year's Orlando Wine Festival & Auction raised $900,000 for the OMYF.


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