Local 4's Finest: Dino Hayz

QC theater owner spotlights special needs kids

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. - A Quad Cities man is putting a spotlight on some special members of the community.

Dino Hayz owns of the Center for Living Arts in Rock Island.

He helped bring the Penguin Project to the QCA. It's a program that provides a supportive environment for children with disabilities to explore their creative talents.

Its debut performance in the QC is "Annie Jr." directed by Hayz.

"There's a whole community of special needs youth who could get access to theater in a different way than they usually do," he says. "What if we did shows where they are the stars of the shows?"

Hayz calls the kids with special needs "artists," and those without are called "mentors." 

The mentor learns their staging, helps then learn songs and choreography, and reminds them where to go and what to do throughout the rehearsal process.

The goal is to give the artists a chance to shine while getting the mentors to realize the joy in helping somebody succeed.

Hayz wants the audience to realize "everybody is somebody, and everybody has a place, and everybody should have a chance to take center stage and sing, and be supported when they do that."

Dino Hayz, for empowering kids with special needs through theater, is one of Local 4's Finest.

"Annie Jr." debuts this Friday and runs through Sunday at Augustana College Theater.

For more information on the play and the Penguin Project, click here.  

You can nominate someone who's doing good or giving back to the community.

Just fill out the nomination form on the right of this page.

You can also send James a message on Facebook or email him at jsears@whbf.com 

 


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