When shelter-in-place hit in March the founders of I Can Do That!, a Danville based youth nonprofit, immediately pivoted to ensure their High School Musical cast of 50 and their tons of students in theater classes would still be able to rehearse and stay connected. Now, 6 months later, not only is ICDT! continuing with virtual classes as well as adding outdoor and indoor socially distanced classes, they are expanding to build a Youth Center in Downtown Danville.
In November of 2019, without any notion of what was to come in March 2020, I Can Do That!’s founders Shayna Ronen and Jarusha Ariel signed a lease on a building in Downtown Danville and set out to build the I Can Do That! Performing Arts Center. The new 6,000 square foot Center would have three rehearsal studios, a costume room, cafe, and two outdoor lounge spaces for local youth to call their own. There they would ‘use the power of community, wellness, and the performing arts to fuel our youth; the individuals who will become the problem solvers, citizens, and leaders we need in this world.’
Upon signing the lease, Ronen and Ariel also began a Capital Campaign to raise $750,000 to complete the renovation of the space. “We wouldn’t have been shocked at all if fundraising stalled or completely stopped once the pandemic hit,” said Ronen, “but our community wouldn’t let that happen.” Since going into shelter in place ICDT! has raised over $400,000 bringing their total to $607,832.
These funds have come in from tons of local families as well as clubs like the Rotary Club of Danville / Sycamore Valley, and foundations like the Donald Zonshine Family Foundation all who gave over $10,000 to be included on the Center’s Donor Wall. This Donor Wall will be designed by a San Francisco based company, One Hat One Hand, and will be ‘the central art piece of the Center, ‘showing the boldness, creativity, and love that ICDT! is all about’. Names will be featured on this wall as tribute to those who helped bring this Center to life, especially during this challenging time.
Ronen and Ariel were just named one of Diablo Magazine’s ‘Agents of Change’ for their work in keeping our local kids ‘socially connected, learning, finding joy, and creating an empowered view of themselves and the world around them.” If your family, foundation, business, or club is interested in learning more about the project, please reach out to Executive Director, Shayna Ronen at Shayna@ICanDoThatPAC.org.
By Shayna Ronen, Executive Director and Co-Founder of I Can Do That! PAC