Positive Action Community Theatre
- serving those with disabilities through the arts -
Sandy Fincher Redmon is the Artistic/Workshop Director of PACT’s Inclusive Theatre, and Performing Arts Workshops for Teens and Adults.
She also teaches PACT's Theatre and Dance/Life Skills Workshops to Girl Scout troops throughout San Diego County.
Sandy became involved in the performing arts as a child, and it has been a driving force throughout her life. She received a Bachelor of Arts from North Texas State University with an emphasis in Communications, Theatre and Dance. She volunteered to teach dance to kids at a local YMCA, and was hooked. She knew that teaching and the arts would always be a part of her life.
Her professional career in Human Resources became focused on interpersonal relations, employee counseling and problem solving. To delve further into human services, she attended Saint Edwards University in Austin, Texas, and earned a Master of Arts in Social and Psychological Services. Sandy began working as a corporate trainer, teaching and administering the Personal and Professional Development curriculum at Advanced Micro Devices in Austin, Texas.
The surf, sunsets and her husband’s employment enticed Sandy to the west coast, and she happily obliged. She dedicated the next phase of her life to being at home with her growing family. She was extremely grateful that she was able to devote so much time to raising her kids, especially since her son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, and her daughter was later diagnosed with ADHD.
She discovered that there was a lot that they both needed to learn. She set about a self-study program to learn as much as possible about Autism Spectrum Disorders, theories, treatments and coping strategies.
By this time, Sandy had become completely immersed in the practice of yoga. She began integrating yoga into the strategies for redirecting her son’s anxious behavior. She realized that all of the components: breathing, meditation, balance, flexibility, strength, posture and focus, were so beneficial to individuals on the autism spectrum. She saw this as an important mission, and completed a 200 hour yoga teacher training series conducted by Nature’s Whisper. By incorporating yoga and meditation into her theatre classes, participants are more relaxed, which allows the mind and body to respond more creatively and take on new challenges.
In 2007, Sandy became affiliated with Girl Scouts of America as a troop leader and troop organizer at her daughter's elementary school. This values-based organization was a perfect setting for teaching essential life skills and inclusion through her theatre workshops. The activities instill confidence, encourage cooperation, practice relaxation, develop concentration skills and invigorate the imagination of participants.
Sandy feels that experiencing theatre is an important lesson for all people, but is especially key to people on the autism spectrum. Understanding social dynamics and body language are not innate skills for these individuals. Theatre is the study of the interactions between people, the expressing of human emotion, and the effective use of language. Not only does theatre teach students how to respond to others, but it teaches how to effectively express what is inside each of us.
Danielle Bustamante is Artistic/Workshop Director for our Children's Inclusive Theatre Workshop series.
Danielle is a credentialed Special Education Teacher currently teaching in a local private school that serves children with disabilities.
In her words:
Performing at an early age, I grew up with an instinct passion for the arts. I begin dancing ballet at the age of 5 and continued on through the age of 14. Upon entering high school, I enrolled in theatre arts and instantly fell in love. The overwhelming joy and excitement of bringing life to different characters and stories enraptured me into the world of theatre. After three years as an active member in my high school drama class and club, I went on to pursue a teaching credential at San Diego State University. During this program, I held an emphasis in theatre arts learning how to incorporate theatre into the classroom.
After discovering yet another passion, I obtained a teaching credential in special education. Currently, I have a position teaching at a nonpublic school specifically for students with disabilities. Here I work with a variety of students aged 5 – 12 with differing disabilities on both academic and behavioral goals. I have had wonderful opportunities to share my enthusiasm and knowledge of the arts into classroom settings, such as re-enacting different stories of the Gold Rush and bringing to life our versions of Cinderella and Goldilocks.
I am extremely delighted to be continuing with the PACT family and look forward to creating many more lasting memories!