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Group of children with backdrop
Photo: Roshni

Lifting Up Denver’s Under-Represented Kids Through Performance

Storytelling through theatrical arts can heal and bring people together, that's the ethos here.

“Every child has the potential to become an artist, given the right support and access. Every adult can reach their higher potential given the right environment,” says Deepali Lindblom, founder and artistic director of Roshni, an Aurora-based organization that conducts community music, dance, and theater classes and performances.

Roshni (which means “light”) aims to nurture youth, refugees, seniors, and people with disabilities. Having seen a common thread of trauma and isolation among people in these groups, and knowing the power of storytelling to heal, Lindblom created her organization as a platform. Through partnerships with local schools, free after-school offerings, and inclusive productions, Roshni encourages people to express themselves by co-creating plays and sharing their cultures in song and dance.

Almost five years into operation, Roshni now directly serves 1,200 performers of all ages annually and reaches audiences of more than 4,000.

Coming up: This year’s youth programs include New American Stories (February-May and October-December), a 24-week after-school group where kids create original plays. Dance of Empathy addresses issues related to mental health and cultural diversity. Summer camp at the Historic Centennial House will offer a month’s long version of New American Stories.

Adults are welcome to join in Chance on Dance, a weekly program for all, including seniors and those with disabilities, and I ARISE (I AM Resilient, Informed, Steadfast, Empathetic), a women’s theater group. Roshni also hosts and participates in cultural events throughout the year such as World Refugee Day and Globalfest, plus the annual New American Arts Festival in September, which spreads across venues in Aurora and Denver to showcase more than 50 diverse performances.

How you can help: Volunteers aid in childcare for women involved in adult programs, event production, and fundraising. Register to volunteer on the Roshni website.

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