We met with Sidiki Conde back in 2011 where he shared his story of his childhood in West Africa and how as a child, he suddenly and inexplicably lost the use of his legs. Despite such a life altering challenge, he is an accomplished dancer, singer, musician and songwriter.
Sidiki is an amazing person. His smile and bright outlook on life is contagious. He refuses to be labeled by his disability.
On this episode, Sidiki is joined by Susan Russo, the executive director of the Theresa Academy of Performing Arts for children with Special Needs. Sidiki is currently working at the Academy as a teacher of the performing arts. He helps to build the student’s self-confidence and self-esteem through example. He is able to show the children that they should be proud of what they can do and not to linger on the things they cannot.
He is also working to raise funds to build a school back in his hometown. Children do not have a lot of opportunities where he is from and are often subjected to begging in the streets. He hopes the school will be able to provide the children with better opportunities for them and their family.
IDEAS offers drama artist-in-residency programs designed for youth and their teachers/staff. These residency programs are offered during school and/or after school hours. Through the guidance of a professional teaching artist in residency at the school/site, students and their teachers/staff work side by side throughout the program. Respectful interaction is emphasized in all activities. Teachers and staff are introduced to non-traditional teaching methods and see their students in a new light. In addition to workshops in the classroom, teachers/staff meet with the artist for planning and feedback.