CHICAGO - For a group of Bronzeville students, a wish was granted Wednesday evening – the invitation to see Aladdin at the Cadillac Palace Theater.
"I think they’re really excited, any time they get to go somewhere special, I think it’s a really great opportunity for them, so we’ve seen a lot of smiles," said Nichole Carter, director of special projects, Bright Star Community Outreach.
After boarding a bus outside of Bright Star Church near 44th Street and Evans Avenue, 75 children were driven downtown where they experienced the magic of Disney’s Aladdin.
"There’s binoculars in there, there are a few snacks, just things to tide them over and to make them have a great experience," Carter said of the goodie bag given to each child.
Carter is a member of Bright Star Church and works for Bright Star Community Outreach. The organization aims to empower residents, address violence, boost economic development, and encourage education and community engagement.
"We always enjoy being able to spread opportunities to our young people, we think that giving them opportunities gives them hope," said Carter. "Hope also helps them to be more resilient, it helps to mitigate trauma, it also helps them to stay away from violent situations, and so being able to do this, especially just kind of on a whim is really an awesome opportunity for us."
Children – ranging in age from preschoolers to high school students – were invited to enjoy the experience with their parents and other chaperones.
"I did watch Aladdin, but it’s been so long ago, that I probably only will remember a few things, so it’s definitely going to be like a nostalgia thing seeing this play," said Jaylen Trice, 14, who attended Aladdin.
The nonprofit, Bright Star Community Outreach, is led by founder and CEO, Pastor Chris Harris, Sr.
"I’m just thankful that we are always in partnership with organizations that allow us to afford these kind of opportunities. It means so much to us and to the organization," said Carter.
Aladdin is being performed at the Cadillac Palace Theater through Sunday, May 28.