• Message from the Executive Director

    Dear Playhouse Community:
    It’s a painful moment when you are a parent when you have to start talking to your child about how broken the world is. We cherish our children’s innocence and we want them to know only good. But hiding the truth of racism and violence against people of color will not make it go away. Ignorance is not the same as innocence and if we want our kids to fulfill the promise of their young sweetness, we must face unpleasant truths. 
    A few years ago, a Black mother told me she didn’t feel that her son was safe riding the bus home from Watauga High School. A community I thought of as beautiful and safe felt very different to her. Another noticed that even well-intentioned preschool teachers seemed to have different behavioral standards for her 3 year old than for his white classmates. Neither family lives in Watauga anymore and that is Watauga’s loss.

    It’s a painful but love-filled moment when you are a parent and you realize that your children’s beliefs in the values you’ve tried to teach them means you have to do more, even when it’s not comfortable. I was up late last night talking about systemic racism and police brutality with my young adult children. Working for a nonprofit in Durham, my son has many Black co-workers who have experienced unequal, scary treatment from law enforcement. Our conversation was sometimes painful as we examined our privilege and complacency but it has made me realize that there is more to learn and more to do to make this a world worthy of all the children.

    My vision for The Children’s Playhouse has always been that it is a place for diverse families to come together united by the love we share for our children. It is no longer possible this time of pandemic to simply find that community by walking into the Playhouse art room. And I realize that there were always factors of race and class limiting the full expression of that vision.

    But I hope that we gather in our hearts to think of all the families hurting and hoping right now and send them our compassion and love. 
    —Kathy Parham, Playhouse founder and executive director, mom to Nate and Mercer.


  • Message from the Board President

    To our community,

    I find great joy watching my 4 year old and 1 year old play, especially when they’re with other little ones. They play and explore, and play some more –  irrespective of differences, without any prejudices. 

    At the same time, it scares me to know that these little kids have the potential to develop deeply held biases – or perhaps worse, indifference – that seek to undermine inclusiveness and equality. 

    As parents and caregivers it’s our responsibility to talk with our children about the injustices we see. For me, and for the Children’s Playhouse, we must address what’s going on in our country and state unequivocally that Black Lives Matter. 

    This has never been clearer to me than now, and I’m ashamed, angry, and broken by the persistent mistreatment of the Black community. We cannot simply respond by saying  “All lives matter,” for that worn out response only carries weight when all lives are respected as equal. 

    As a community organization we need to be the drivers of positive change. The Children’s Playhouse stands for inclusion, love, acceptance and support. If we do not support and love our neighbors, all of our neighbors, how do we love anyone? 

    We need to be better. And we need to move forward with love AND action.

    Here’s what we’re doing:

    1. Diversifying our Board – Our Board is made up of wonderful people that care about children, but we’re all white. And that’s not ok. As Board President I will actively be seeking members of our Black and Hispanic community to join our board and help us create a better Children’s Playhouse.

    2. Partnerships – We’re expanding our partnerships with organizations that serve children and their caregivers across Watauga County, including providing Play Kits to OASIS and other agencies.

    3. Programming — as we build our Play Kit Project, we will work to create kits that offer meaningful learning experiences related to empathy and social justice.

    Thank you and let’s try and continue this conversation. Please reach out to me directly.

    In solidarity,

    Aaron White, Playhouse Board President

    Board President

Playhouse Comics Club, Issue #7 (June 12, 2020)Playhouse Comics Club, Issue #8 (June 19, 2020)
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