The Penguin Project of McLean County

Once a year, a magical and touching celebration of the human spirit unfolds at U-High's Stroud Auditorium in Normal, Illinois. A group of young people in a program called The Penguin Project® McLean County take to the stage to perform a modified version of a well-known Broadway musical.

This production is unique, however, because all of the roles are filled by children and young adults with developmental disabilities including Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, visual impairment, hearing impairment, and other disorders. They are joined on stage by their “peer mentors,” a group of young people the same age without disabilities, who have volunteered to work with them side-by-side and guide them through 4 months of rehearsals and to the final production.
 
By creating unrestricted access to the performing arts, The Penguin Project® McLean County demonstrates that the special challenges of a disability need not handicap a child’s ability to participate in life’s many experiences.

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