Culture of Kindness to be celebrated by Jellybeans on Saturday, April 8th.

The Jellybean Speech Festival was started in 2014 at Mexico High School as a means of providing a venue for Special Needs students to share their talents and skills.  The program was founded by Sara Given as an extension to the "The Jellybean Conspiracy" play written by Dr. Howard Martin performed for the 2013 MSHSAA District Readers Theatre. 

Dr. Martin, the founder of "The Jellybean Conspiracy" and its non-profit foundation by the same name have supported Sara in her program for the past four years. Dr. Martin has been thoroughly impressed with the work here in Mexico and proud to see the new direction of Jellybean. In January, after years of service, Dr. Martin and "The Jellybean Conspiracy" board of directors decided to hand over the foundation to Sara Given, Creative Director and Dr. Terry Robinson Executive Director. This March, under the guidance of Given and Robinson, the second Jellybean Festival Site was formed in St. Genevieve, Missouri. This has enabled another section of Missouri to provide performance opportunities to students with special needs. 

The Jellybean Festival is focused on creating a Culture of Kindness through performance. Each performer is paired up with a regular education peer coach. Together, the performer and the coach work on the performance event. The collaboration leads to a strong personal relationship that is much more than performer and coach. They become "best friends for life,"  according to former peer coach and current board member Sidny Groves. 

Students will perform events such as; poetry, acting scenes, singing, dancing, storytelling and public speaking. Although students are encouraged to perform material within the given themes of kindness, tolerance, acceptance, inclusion, etc., students may choose pieces that speak to them as individuals. 

The Jellybean Festival is open to the public and is a wonderful event to experience.  Free-will donations will be taken at the door which will be put back into the Foundation. Given describes the event as "electric."  "There simply isn't another word to describe it. The energy and the compassion and love that fills the room is...electric." She explains further, "I guarantee that you will leave Jellybean a different and better person."

The performances begin at 9:30 in Emmons Hall at Mexico High School. There will be 6th-12th grade performers from all over the State of Missouri. The first session of performances will end around 11:30 and the second session will begin at 1:00. 

We invite you to join us at the 4th Annual Jellybean Festival!  "We are all Jellybeans in the clear glass jellybean jar of life." Although we appear different on the outside, on the inside we are all the same. Come help us celebrate a Culture of Kindness this Saturday, April 8.