Category Archives: Dramatic Adventure Theater

Day 100: On the road-Dramatic Adventure and the grant writing process

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dramatic Adventure Theatre shares the journey of the Pepsi Refresh Challenge

                                              The Application Process

I had a conversation with my daughter, Mary K., co-owner of Dramatic Adventure Theatre. We went through the process of filling out the application and gathered experiences to share with you.

Here is the link to the Dramatic Adventure Theatre idea. They need DAILY voting for the next 9 days:

If you are specifically interested in applying for this grant, the first thing I would do is click on the link above. Then, After voting! Click on the following words:

How It Works
anyone can submit their idea
Download the toolkit

The toolkit lists the step by step instructions and lists the dates for applying. This is the most critical piece to understand.

Here is some advice from Mary K. about the application:

1) Go into the site and pick a few “ideas” to follow. “Ideas” is the term that pepsi uses throughout the site. 

2) Look at the ideas in the Top 10 spots and the bottom 10 spots. Look at the presentation of the ideas.

3) Make a list of things you like and don’t like. Think about things you already have created for your organizations website. Do you have pictures, a solid mission statement, short videos? Do you have a “why” for doing this?

4) There are 10 winners every month in the $5,000, $25,000 and $50,000 categories. The top 10 ideas with the most votes.

5) The $250,000 category is awarded to the Top 2. She feels that you need a really solid support system in place to receive enough votes to reach that level.

6. When applying for a grant take the lower category instead of reaching for a higher number. For example, if you have an idea with a budget of $30,000, select the $25,000 level. In the budget notes, make a note that you will be raising the additional $5,000 for the project. Someone may see that note and donate money to you. Do not add an extra $20,000 to your budget, if you can do it for $30,000.

7. Your application is also your “idea” website. So, it all has to be ready when you submit it.

8. Mary K and Jesse applied on the first day of the month, at 12:00 am (midnight). They received confirmation at 12:08 am. When they checked something at 12:28 am, the application process for the month was closed. 1000 applications were received.

9. The first picture you upload becomes the lead picture on your site. You can’t change it. Choose the picture that best reflects your idea.

10. On that note, Mary K. was noticing all kinds of typos, even on an organization’s name. Review all of the information well. This will be the face of your organization for the entire month. You can not change it once it uploaded and the voting begins.

11. If you are an individual applying for a grant vs an organization, select one of the lower amounts of money. *one important note for an individual. Write the description like a biography in 3rd person. It brings more credibility to the project. For example, you have a quilting project and you need funding for materials. “Dana has been a quilter for 20 years. Her greatest passion is providing quilts to people who are in hospice. The quilts provide warmth for the patient who is dying and the quilt goes home with the family member as a memory of the last days of their life. The quilts created by Dana will provide…” Mary the presentation from 3rd person is more powerful and compelling. Instead of writing, I have been a quilter for … I will provide…I have done…

12. This last piece can be a little confusing. I am going to break this down into bite-size pieces.
-You have applied for the grant and your application has been “received”
-You will receive notification of final acceptance around 6am on the first day of the month.
-The pepsi website shuts down 8pm-midnight on the last day of the month.
-Basically, you will prepare everything and still you don’t know if you are accepted until the day the voting begins.

Timeline example:

Idea site is completed by Feb 28 at noon
Application submitted at 12:01 am on March 1
March is the month to prepare your idea site with information and videos and pictures
April 1 6am (approx time) you receive the Yes! that you are accepted and everything goes LIVE.

I hope this was helpful to some of you who will be applying for this grant or another grant. Next week, we will list things Dramatic Adventure Theatre did to prepare for the voting.

All of the preparations made their organization stronger. Even if they had not been accepted for the grant process, they created a momentum in their company. They have all learned and grown so much this month.

More information next week. Thanks for voting!

Day 86: On the Road. Have a project idea and need money?

April 7, 2010

Have a project and need money?

I am always thinking about how to connect people and ideas and resources. I am passionate about it. And this passion was recently rewarded when I discovered the pepsi refresh grant project.

I was following a few people on Twitter to learn more about the world of tweeting. Demi Moore was involved in a celebrity challenge with pepsi refresh to raise money for an organization that helps victims of sex trafficking. To receive $250,000, she needed daily voting. It was an easy way to support the organization. I included the voting in my daily routine of coffee and checking e-mail. She won the contest and Gem Girls now has $250,000 to train more people to go into communities and help young girls. Awesome!

Once I had registered on the pepsi refresh site, I saw that I could vote for 10 different projects every day.  I read and explored the passionate ideas from many organizations and voted for them.

One day the light bulb went off in my brain. I thought about my daughter, Mary and her husband, Jesse and their organization, Dramatic Adventure Theatre. I thought about the fundraising they did every year to raise money to take theatre artists to Zimbabwe and Ecuador and now for a project in Louisiana. I suggested they look into applying for a grant.

They applied and are in the contest this month, April 2010.  The grant is for $50,000 and will fund a project in six communities in Louisiana. To vote and find out more information:

Part 2 of this story is the brainstorm I had a few days ago. I have watched the process of Dramatic Adventure Theatre as they applied for the grant, submitted the grant, prepared for the voting, and now the things they are doing to spread the word and receiving votes.

I started to think about you. I have watched Mary and Jesse and began to see how they could share ideas with other people who have a project idea and need money. It may be for you or you may know an individual or organization.

They want to take you along on this journey with them. Mary and Jesse have decided to share the things they have learned and to hopefully inspire other people to look for funding resources in unusual places. Every Wed, I will post a blog with the latest information and learning.

Next Wed, they will share tips on filling out and submitting the application. I hope it will inspire you with ideas and infinite possibilities. In the meantime, sign up on the site, review their profile and VOTE every day!

Concert 21: Uniondale, New York

Thanks to MaryAnn McNeely for sponsoring the blog this week.
She makes beautiful jewelry and is a life coach.

Check out her website:


Concert 21: Uniondale, New York
July 21, 2009

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. – Carl Jung

It was the first really rainy day of the concert tour. The vendor buses and trucks were there with one lonely Burger King Apple Fries cart. People were crowding into the ticket box area or they were huddled together looking for shelter.

Hannah and I did not have tickets and we were both sort of freaking out. This was the day I had agreed to help Jesse, my daughter Mary’s fiancé, return stage lights and a ladder. It involved a variety of stops. First we drove from W. 140th Street and Broadway to the Richmond Shepard Theatre at 309 E. 26th Street (@ 2nd Ave.) where ACTion Ecuador, a Dramatic Adventure Theatre production, had performed for four days. (The performances were phenomenal, by the way.) We loaded the huge spotlights after shuffling suitcases and the ladder to fit everything into the car. The drop-off spot was Hell’s Kitchen around 9th and 40th. It was a really cool building. I could imagine the 1920’s and The Silent Film era when Broadway was booming.

All of this was in Manhattan… in the rain.

With all of that handled, we drove to Queens to the home of the lighting designer. We were returning the ladder. As I drove through the tunnel and paid the toll, we realized the computer directions were missing one key element. The only way to reach the exit before crossing the bridge was to be all the way to the right at the toll booth. There was a barrier and we couldn’t get over to the exit. It took us another 45 minutes to get back to Queens. All of this was in crazy rush hour traffic and did I say…in the rain.

When I am in NYC, I usually park the car and we take public transportation or an occasional cab everywhere. But, the estimated public transportation time to Long Island was 3 ½ hours. The original plan according to the computer was that the errands and the drive to the concert location would take 90 minutes. Driving to Queens was on the way to the concert in Uniondale on Long Island. It took 3 hours, it was raining, we didn’t have concert tickets and we were freaking out.

At 6pm, we stood in line and saw the people in front of us buying the newly released, precious front row seats. We were really stressing on each other. The weather, the lateness, and the disruption of our routine and shortage of money had us stressed and taking it out on each other. (These are not my proudest moments, but I want to be honest with you. We were not very nice to each other today.)

We had to pay more than we wanted to for my ticket. The only tickets available were the top price. Hannah got a front row corner seat. I was on the 200 level, but still the same price.
After we got our tickets, I decided to walk outside in the rain. An unexpected gift appeared. Jen, the woman who works at some of the venues with Burger King was here. We met in the Midwest and now she had been here for the three shows on Long Island. I was shocked, excited, and thrilled. The last time I saw her was in Chicago where she lives and works.

She had been at the tour at these really pivotal moments. After hugging her and hearing a few of her life details, I talked with her about the stress and the frustration and my desire to open to the next steps. As usual she gave me hugs and encouragement.

I don’t know what is going to happen. We are going to the Full Moon Crazy Show tomorrow night for Honor Society and then back to Baltimore. We are at the end of our money. Is this the end?

I have found that when I am frustrated and stressed, I attract more frustration and more things that require patience. Long lines at the women’s bathroom, people arguing around me, and rainy, damp days. When I can see my life as a spiritual practice and switch my focus to curiosity and wonderment, everything shifts.

I decided to enjoy myself. I was in the building now with a ticket. If this was the last show, I wanted to be awake and alive in this moment. I walked around the concourse and looked at the food. (Maybe I will publish this someday. A list of different food at the booths at the arenas around the country)

I looked for the sponsor booths to see if there was anything new. I saw Jen and she waved to me. She had called me on my cell phone but I hadn’t heard it ring with all the noise from the crowd. She called her husband Antonio, the guy who runs the Burger King events at all of the concerts this summer. He asked about my tickets and presented me with upgraded tickets.

Something shifted. Or had I already shifted my attitude and that opened me to this moment? Hannah had a front row seat so I only needed the one ticket. Antonio and Jen sat by me that night. It was the first time they had seen the show. They took pictures at the concert and watched with wide open amazement.

I watched the concert as if it were my last. Savoring the atmosphere. Dancing every song. Feeling the gratitude of this moment. Not knowing what is next.

Every day there has been something pulling me into the dream of this adventure. Is it time to turn back or move forward?

A celebration of transformation with Dramatic Adventure Theatre

Today’s jonas watch is sponsored by Dramatic Adventure Theatre.

For sponsorship information go to


Yesterday, I skipped a Jonas Brothers concert in Uniondale, NY to spend the day at the Richmond Shepard Theatre in NYC watching plays. The plays were a reflection of a year long project from an organization called Dramatic Adventure Theatre. My daughter, Mary, age 25 and her fiance, Jesse, age 28 are the creators and owners of this company.

A year ago, they decided to expand the organization to create a program for college students and theater artists. 75 people participated in this program. Groups of students and artists went to Ecuador for several weeks. It was a cross cultural program that included service projects, art workshops and the creation of a piece of theater that reflected something about the experience for them.

I watched nine short plays yesterday. Each one so powerful that I could barely speak without sobbing. The last two years, I watched Mary and Jesse perform a theater piece with several actors after visiting Zimbabwe and Ecuador. I always thought that I cried because I knew them and I could see and feel their transformation. I knew who they were before the trip and I saw how they had changed from going to the different countries.

Last night the tears came because I could feel the transformation that had happened for each of the groups. It was palpable. Transformation was oozing from their bodies as they relived their experiences by putting them into an expression of music, dance, and words.

I am still so moved by what I saw that the words of the experience for me are not fully formed.

In the beginning of this blog today, I said it was a year long project, but it was really a project that they had been preparing for all of their lives.

I can remember a night when I was really sick twenty years ago. A flu, high fever type of illness. I had worked all day, picked up Mary, age 5 and Liz, age 3 from day care and all I wanted to do was fall into bed. It was only 6 or 7 pm, too early for Mary who could barely settle down at 10pm (she is still a night owl!) I popped a video into the VHS player, Mary Poppins. I gave her some instruction like, let me know when the movie is over or climb in bed when the movie is over. Something like that. I was delirious with fever that night.

Around 3 am, I rolled out of bed to check on her. There was Mary in the living room. A stack of musical VHS tapes on the couch, some dress up clothes, an open umbrella and Mary with a huge smile on her face.

What can I say, the kid ALWAYS loved theater!

In high school, Mary was the President of Future Business Leaders of America. In college, she studied Theater, Business and Communications. In her last semester of college, she told me that she was interested in doing something with children’s theater.

Then, she met Jesse who had his own path of discovering creativity as a middle school student who thrived in the arts. He had a journey of overcoming shyness to step into a bolder role for himself in the world. He has an idea of traveling to different countries and doing theater with children. A discussion with a friend a few years ago, came back as a challenge to do it. He came up with the name Dramatic Adventure. And when he and Mary partnered, each brought the life experience and skills to make this happen.

Throughout their lives, both of their families traveled and demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit, a love of adventure, an openness to trying new things. We provided a “container or space” that nurtured this spirit in them. With their family in the audience last night, we cheered them on to the finish line.

Yes, we provided the container and they did the work. They combined their passions, interests and hard work. They made the phone calls, stayed up late at night, took the financial, emotional and physical risks. They had roadblocks, doubts, hurdles to jump over. They had inspiration, moments of perfection and the determination to work through every challenge. They DID it!

And in their willingness to leap, they have created a place of transformation and awakening to 75 people who now know more about themselves. They are now bringing that awareness back to their families, their communities and their work. It is a ripple effect.

As I travel with Hannah to Jonas Brothers concerts, I do not know what the impact will be on our lives in the future. But, I am aware that the people we are meeting through the blogs and at the concerts we are all touching each other, awakening something in us and leading us on a path to somewhere.

For each person, I have met and conversed with, I want you to know that the 5 minute conversations in line for the bathroom, the sharing of our stories in between sets, dancing together, and of course, the hugs, are touching Hannah and me. We carry you with us in our hearts, our conversations and into our experiences.

And as I watched Jesse and Mary last night, closing the evening with words of gratitude, I was moved by the infinite possibilities that await us all. One step at a time.