Happy Wizard of Oz Day!

The Wizard of Oz premiered on this day in 1939!

The Wizard of Oz is near and dear to Prospects' hearts. Why you ask...? 

We'll let our Founder, Valerie Jensen, describe the connection!

"If a time traveling Delorean or Bill and Ted’s phone booth dropped in front of me, I wouldn't go see the unicorns, the dinosaurs or the moon people.  I would go back to a single screen movie theater in 1939, opening night of the Wizard of Oz.

To be in that audience surrounded by people who had NEVER EVER EVER seen COLOR on screen before, NEVER! I mean, seriously, can you imagine what a mind-tickle that was?

From what I have read, audiences cried.  Their brains could not process what they were seeing.  The color made the movie look so much like real life!  Try imagining how magical experiencing that would be…

…YOU CAN! The Prospector Theater is OZ!"

Imagine it is 1979 and that your child is born.  

The doctor and nurse exchange a look.  They tell you the baby is retarded.  Thoughts are swimming in your head; the doctors and nurses voices are saying things to you. They say:

“It has no future.”

“Leave it at the hospital.”

“It will be a burden on the family.”

“It will not survive long, better off without it, don't get attached”. 

“Go home, tell your family she was stillborn…”

You don't listen.  You take your baby home and you love her.  She goes to school, thanks to the IDEA and ADA.  She graduates from high school.  She has friends… and now she has a JOB.

You come to The Prospector Theater.  Your daughter welcomes you with a smile, this baby that had been sentenced at birth by ignorant doctors.  She rips your ticket, and exclaims:  “ENJOY THE SHOW MOM!  THAT’S MY MOM!”  Her coworkers smile at you.  You know all of her co-workers, from her; she talks about them all the time. She loves her job. She does a good job, her coworkers tell you and you learn that she talks about you at work as much as she talks about them at home!

YOU LOVE THAT SHE HAS A JOB.  You will likely never experience the concentrated amount that SHE loves her job.  She gets a paycheck.  She is happy.  She can buy things with her own money.  She has more independence.  You have more independence since she has more independence.  Your family, who never really knew what to talk to her about, it seemed, now talk to her about work.  You and she go out in town, everyone says hi to her.  Wow. 

You always knew how smart/funny/driven/loyal/hardworking/ your child was.  It broke your heart that others couldn't see it; couldn’t see about her what you saw in COLOR from the moment she was born…This is Oz.

Audiences, guests of the Prospector, everyone who comes through our doors will see it in COLOR.

People with disabilities CAN WORK, LOVE WORK, and can DO A GOOD JOB— and they always could. Society’s attitudes, preconception, biases and low expectations need to become as dusty and unused as fuzzy black and white TV.

Meaningful work does not only benefit the person with the job, oh no!  That parent who visits her daughter at work has lost half a lifetime worth of sleep, worrying what will happen to her…what will she do…who will be there for her…  Families field the joy and the burden of having a daughter/ son/ sibling/ parent with a disability.  The government’s early intervention program and our public school system is fantastic until 21 and then it’s OVER.  Done.  Then the person sits at home, watches TV all day, eats, gets depressed and regresses.  Families watch helplessly, feelings of isolation, resentment, self-pity, fear of an uncertain future can crush them.

Understanding the guiding principles and passions that built the Prospector Theater is important to seeing the full color picture of the mission.

While exploring the journey to the mission, you will learn that mission takes many forms.  It is hanging from the ceiling.  It is the tiles on the walls.  It is an elevator.  It is a dance.  It is an attitude.  It is in everything we do, everything we make, in every greeting, action, reaction and story we tell.  This is not like learning a foreign language. It is not a book of rules to memorize.  You already live it, and see it everywhere you look within the Prospector Theater.

We can all make a difference.  We can all bring joy to others.  We can all sparkle.

In summation, the answer to the unemployment epidemic is not the government.  It is not medical institutions.  The answer is in our own backyard: at our local movie theaters, restaurants, and shops.  We need to help our audiences / business owners / society to see in color, just like the customers who entered movie houses on the night of August 25th, 1939.

And our world will be in color.  Audiences, guests of the Prospector, everyone who comes through our doors will see it in COLOR.