Jonathon, member of Adult Recreation Services, feels comfortable on stage. It must be noted that when he is on stage he is usually portraying a character. You see, Jonathon is in the Drama Club, and he enjoys it!
“Being on stage, in front of everyone, makes me happy,” Jonathon said. “I’m not nervous. I realized I have a great voice to project and I gain love from the audience, such as when they applaud for me or congratulate me after the play is over.”
If you attended the last four plays, you may have recognized him as the Mad Hatter (2012: “Alice and Wonderland”), or Mr. Warbucks (2013: “Annie Jr.”)?, or as Shrek (2014: “Shrek: The Musical”), or as Mayor Shinn (2015: “The Music Man Junior”)?
It was for his role as Shrek in the 2014 Drama Club performance that Jodi Darrohn, Director of Adult Recreation, nominated Jonathon for The Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis’ Jim Guest “Reach for the Stars” Award, to be given to those individuals who have made a significant achievement. “Jonathon memorized over 100 lines, as well as songs and choreography,” Jodi said. “Not only did he learn his part, but he was quick to help his fellow actors if they had forgotten a line or where to go on stage.”
The award is named after a Recreation Council board member who was dedicated to the Council and had a real passion to ensure that individuals with disabilities are aware of, and have opportunities to participate in leisure and recreation activities of their choice. Jim Guest passed away in 2014. The Recreation Council added this award at their annual Recognition and Awards Ceremony.
On March 26, 2015, Jonathon stood on stage as himself as he was presented the Jim Guest Award. Jonathon was very excited and happy when he found out about the award and ceremony. “This is my first award,” Jonathon said. “I plan to put it in my room where I can see it every day.”
Jonathon had a fan base to applaud and congratulate him when he received his award. His biggest fan, Mindi Denker, his mom, had a smile on her face the whole time. “Social things are difficult for Jonathon, but this program has helped him get comfortable around his peers,” Mindi said. “It’s great for him to be recognized. I’m so proud of him.”