Written by Elizabeth Hallal

My WHOLE LIFE I have dreamt of creating something. Growing up around music and an endless stream of Disney movies, I was always drawn toward the power of the arts, and I was lucky enough to have parents that supported me in this passion since a young age. They enrolled me in dance classes at only 4 years old! I loved the creativity and the fun and the energy and the discipline. My favorite was ballet; the structure was always the same, but you could take whatever interpretation you wanted to!

However, things began to change in the world when I was only 10 years old. I didn’t understand it, and I didn’t understand why… until my parents had to deliver the news to me that they could no longer afford sending me to dance classes.

I was heartbroken, to say the least. I spent the next few weeks incredibly sad – a rather pitiful image, I’m sure, to my teachers and classmates. I truly feared I had lost my art forever (though now, I am increasingly aware that art exists wherever we allow it to – not only within the walls of a dance studio or opera house).

I needed a miracle.

I was given that in a woman named Margie, a local dance studio owner who believed enough in me to allow me to continue dancing with her, despite the fact my family didn’t have the money. We made a deal that I could dance if my father helped them with their marketing and design. (A freelance artist, I have always looked up to him, and I will always be thankful for this sacrifice that he made for me.) I began dancing again, and I grew a love for performing incredibly deep and as time went on, I found that my heart was in theatre. Today, I am studying at one of the top acting schools in the country, and I attribute that accomplishment to the faith that one woman had on me.

I look back on that fondly, and it is always such a treat when I run into Margie in public or see that she’s commented on one of my Facebook posts. I like to know that she’s proud of me, and I hope she realizes what an important role she has played in the story of my life. If not for her, I don’t know where I would be today. Surely, I would not be the woman I am, as I give the credit for my skills and passion for the world to my involvement in the arts. Surely, I would not be studying theatre at one of the country’s top acting schools.

Since Margie’s gift, I have made it my personal mission to give to others the way that she gave to me. How can I ensure other dreamers’ have access to the opportunities they need to be their truest self? How can I continue the cycle?

THAT is what The Triple A Project means to me. This organization is an ever-growing, ever-changing project meant to give to others what Margie gave to me:

A path. A home. And the chance to create.

Just like I’ve alway dreamt of doing.

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