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MARY HAUSCH is the founder of Gainesville's Hippodrome State Theater and producing director. A 1972 graduate of the University of Florida, Mary has over 200 productions to her credit, has directed more than 80 productions, acted in more than 50 productions and is a playwright as well. Mary is a veteran FAVACA volunteer with missions to five Caribbean nations beginning in 1996. Antiguan youth and youth workers requested their first FAVACA assistance that year. The improvisational youth theater technique (IMPROV) she employs and the award-winning H.I.T.T. program, both developed at Gainesville's Hippodrome State Theater, teach adolescents life skills. Mary also has served in Grenada (2000), Jamaica (2001), Aruba (2002) and Dominica (2003).
DOMINICAN YOUTH TRAINED AS PEER EDUCATORS. Following a development mission by FAVACA staff, Mr. Willie Fevrier, executive director of the Dominica Planned Parenthood Association, requested technical assistance for their Peer Educators training program. Within their organization, there is a youth group called the Youth Advocacy Movement. This is a group of 15 young people who are trained to be peer educators, especially in the area of sexual and reproductive health. Every summer, the youth receive additional training to improve their skills and youth from other groups are also invited to attend. Volunteers Mary Hausch and Tamerin Dygert from the Hippodrome State Theatre in Gainesville traveled to Dominica to work with the youth group August 14-22, 2003. The team provided prevention workshops addressing drug and substance abuse, sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, AIDS, and peer pressure to a group of 34 students and 3 adults. The Hippodrome is home to H.I.T.T. an award winning program that uses theater to teach adolescents life skills.
YOUTH THEATRE INTRODUCED IN ARUBA. Dr. Marisol Tromp, Minister of Social Affairs and Infrastructure in Aruba requested FAVA/CA's assistance in the area of Youth development. The Aruba government has declared 2002 as "Year of the Youth". The Ministry was interested in holding educational theater workshops for the youth, following the model of the HITT program from the Hippodrome Theatre in Gainesville. Return volunteers from The Hippodrome State Theatre Bonnie Harrison, High Springs, and Mary Hausch, Gainesville, introduced their HITT program to the youth of Aruba November 9-24, 2002. They worked with a group of 25 kids hailing from all areas of the island to develop a final performance piece that they then presented in three performances on two extreme ends of the island to large groups of students. Also present at the performances were the Minister of Social Affairs and Infrastructure and representatives from the media and the community.
HIPPODROME TAKES YOUTH EMPOWERMENT WORKSHOP TO JAMAICAN GIRLS HOME. Eunice Scott, director of the Windsor Girls Home in St.Ann's Bay, Jamaica, sought the expertise of veteran volunteers Bonnie Harrison and Mary Hausch, of the Hippodrome StateTheater in Gainesville, Florida. The Windsor Girls Home serves teenage girls between the ages of 13-18 who come from all over the island. These girls are abandoned, abused physically and sexually, some were involved with drugs, and some are just in need of care and protection. The Hippodrome's unique youth empowerment program has been very successful in helping youth overcome some of the obstacles they face by getting them involved through theater. The children learn acting techniques while creating their own skits on how to cope with some of the obstacles they are faced with. This program has been successfully introduced in Antigua, Barbuda, St. Lucia and Grenada. Harrison and Hausch conducted the training July 6-21, 2001 for 30 girls.
GRENADA YOUTH DRUG ABUSE PREVENTION SUMMER PROGRAM. At the request of Dave Alexander and Terrence Walters of the Grenada National Drug Avoidance Committee and jointly, Grenada's national 4-H Office, Corps volunteers delivered two youth interventions: "IMPROV" and "Youth Public Education Media Development Summer Exercise" July 17-26, 2000. Volunteers Mary Hausch and Bonnie Harrison of Gainesville Florida's Hippodrome State Theater conducted IMPROV, an improvisational youth theater development exercise. Volunteers Danny Pietrodangelo, Amy Olk, Glenn Sharron, Pete Winter and Rebecca Roberts orchestrated the media development program designed by youth to produce effective anti-drug mass media messages. The events, presented during Grenada's "Operation Save Summer" youth initiative were supported, in part, by the United States Embassy - Barbados.
ANTIGUA GOVERNMENT YOUTH DIVISION IMPLEMENTS IMPROV. Bonnie Harrison and Mary Hausch, teen improvisational theater specialists from Hippodrome State Theater in Gainesville FL conducted workshops for 25 youth and youth workers in Antigua July 7-23, 1996.