I normally shy away from talking about Dustin directly on here, but he is why I am here and this was a great film by Katie and Dusty for the benefit of our friends at CO/LAB. Many of you have not heard Dustin speak before, so consider this his world premier (he is a good reader).

Dear Friends and Family:

On November 4, I will be running the NYC Marathon for the 4th time. This journey will be different, as I am committing my run this year to benefit CO/LAB, the amazing theater group that Dusty ACTS — yes acts — with and I am proud to serve as a Board Member of. I have never run a marathon in support of a non-profit before — a lot more pressure — but CO/LAB has become too important to us not to take the opportunity and ask for your support as I undertake this oh so daunting journey.

CO/LAB (Creative Opportunities without Limits And Boundaries) provides individuals with developmental disabilities a creative and social outlet through theatre arts. Dusty has participated in their Musical Theatre Ensemble class, performed in his first show, With Words, and is learning about Physical Theater in CO/LAB’s newest class. For many years, Dusty has enjoyed Broadway as a member of the audience…thanks to CO/LAB he now gets to experience the joy of expression and creation and perform on the stage!. Please enjoy this short (2:20) film of Dusty’s CO/LAB journey:

At this year's autism friendly performance of The Lion King, something truly amazing happened during Simba’s second act solo, Endless Night. Dusty was singing along, and suddenly got an anguished look on his face and clenched his fists. I braced myself for a melt down. The song built and Dusty’s look became even more anguished and his knuckles turned white, they were squeezed so hard. And then….wait for it….the song ended, Dusty relaxed his hands, and he smiled. In that moment, Dusty had become Simba. Dusty was Acting. That’s the power of theater. That’s the power of CO/LAB.

CO/LAB has created a truly inclusive and judgement-free environment that encourages Dusty to discover and express his voice through acting.  Please consider supporting my marathon journey this year through my #Imwithcolab Crowdrise campaign:*


CO/LAB’s core programming is offered at no cost to its Actors; thus any donation of any size is greatly needed and genuinely appreciated.  A lot of people giving a little adds up to a lot. 

There once was a day as many of you know when Dusty got thrown out of a theater — a Broadway theater in fact. Now, thanks to CO/LAB, he is theater! Moments of despair. Moments of glory. Much like the Drama masks. Much like a marathon.  Much like life.

Our love and gratitude,

Katie, Mike, Dylan and Dusty

*If you prefer, you can mail your gift to me, made out to CO/LAB Theater Group (see address below) and I will be honored to hand deliver it to Becky Leifman, our wonderful co-founder and Executive Director.

The Sweeney Family

1619 3rd Avenue, Apt. 21K

New York, NY 10128

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