Wonderland’s Got Talent, or: Why We Do What We Do

The Academy at Morgan’s Wonderland is nearing the end of its school year, which means that Miss Nikki (as the Creative Arts head) has been working pretty hard on the school’s annual talent showcase.

Now, the thing about these showcases is that they’re not just about performance. They’re not just singing or dancing or magic or stand-up. It’s part of the school’s philosophy that performance skills are life skills. When you’re up there on stage, you’re learning how to present yourself with confidence. You’re learning how to interact with others. You’re learning how to be out there in the world. You’re learning that you have a place there.

And for students with special needs,that’s the most important lesson of all.
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A Day in the Life of Morgan’s Wonderland

Joy the Butterfly and friend.Spring Break was just a couple of weeks ago, and once again, Morgan’s Wonderland was there to help kids of all ages celebrate with a whole week of Music, Mutts, Magic, & More.

I got to visit the park on the last day of the celebration and enjoy some of what had been going on all week. Here’s the day in review:

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All About The Students

Every event is a learning experience, if you can see it.

However big, however small, once it’s done you have to take time to regroup and review. What worked, what might need work, what people said, and always, how to make sure this event reaches and helps the people who need it most.

Now that this year’s Snowball Run has wrapped up, its organizers will be doing all of that and figuring out how to build on the successes of three years.

I think they have a great foundation to build on. Continue reading

Let It Snow… Or Make It Snow

I know it always feels a little weird to talk about winter events in San Antonio. When you have to scrape the frost off your windshields before you drive to work in the morning, only to go home that same afternoon with the windows rolled down and the A/C turned off, no one can blame you for thinking that winter is just an urban legend you heard about that one time.

But we’re a resourceful lot. And if we want snow, we’ll make it happen one way or another.

Which brings us to one of my favorite winter events. Continue reading

One More Reason (Of Many) Why I Love What I Do

Last night Morgan’s Wonderland held its annual Free to Soar gala (which also included a birthday party for Morgan, and a Bruno Martian flash mob by the students at The Academy at Morgan’s Wonderland). I wasn’t there for the event itself, but I got to sit in on rehearsals the night before, and I’m still going through the photos I shot.

I had a great time at the rehearsals, so I can imagine how much fun the full event was. It’s just so much fun working with everyone in the Wonderland, TX community.

But it’s a lot more than fun. It’s also so incredibly rewarding. I’ve shared not a few words about the experience, and I’m thankful for everyone who has supported them. More importantly, I’m thankful for everyone who has supported the park and the school.

But for all the words I’ve written, it’s the visuals that tell the story far better. So, if you’d like to see, REALLY see, what it means to support Wonderland, TX, watch this video:

That is what you’re supporting. That’s what all the staff and teachers and administrators are supporting. That’s what I’m supporting.

And I’m honored to be a part of it.

If you’d like to be a part of it too (and I’ve had a few people ask), please message me for details. I’ll try to help if I can.

Thanks as always, and hope to see you in Wonderland!

As Butterflies Do

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There’s a very good reason the butterfly is the sigil for Morgan’s Wonderland and The Academy at Morgan’s Wonderland. Think of its life cycle. A butterfly starts out as a caterpillar, trying to make its way in the world. Then  it builds a cocoon for itself so it can stay safe as it grows. When it’s ready, it emerges  from the cocoon, spreads its wings, and flies away as its truest self.

It’s a good metaphor for the mission of the park and the school. Give children and families a place where they are safe. A place where they’re included. A place where they can grow into the people we know they can be.

And it’s been my honor to see all of that in action. Continue reading