Program Explores Experience Of Foreign-Born Kids In U.S. High Schools

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Jenelle Sosa and Samantha Stanley in A Few Steps in a Stranger’s Shoes (Photo courtesy of the Cranford Library)

Jenelle Sosa and Samantha Stanley in A Few Steps in a Stranger’s Shoes (Photo courtesy of the Cranford Library)

CRANFORD —What’s it like to be a kid in a new country, a new town, and a new school? When English is not your first language and you don’t know if you will ever see your old friends or extended family again? Are the American students and teachers you meet friends or foes?

Find some answers to these questions on Monday, March 4, at 7:30 p.m. when The Theater Project offers a free performance of A Few Steps in a Stranger’s Shoes at the Cranford Community Center, 220 Walnut Avenue. The performance, part of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s Stages Festival, is free, but reservations are encouraged; call 1-973-763-4029.

In this presentation, a facilitator and three actors empower participants to problem-solve the complex relationships of immigrant students in American high school settings by interacting with the actor-characters to find solutions. The program was developed in consultation with educators and students, who emphasized that social interaction—student-to-student and student-to-teacher—is often the largest stumbling block facing the foreign-born student.

A Few Steps in a Stranger’s Shoes has toured area schools successfully over the last six years. The March 4 presentation is offered as an opportunity for other schools and community groups to see the program in action.

Some comments from students who have participated in recent presentations include:

  • “I learned that the Americans aren’t the way they appear. They all have hearts and they have feelings.”
  • “It was amazing, full of emotion and every school should go and see it. It opens eyes and hearts. I hope they can bring it again. Thank you for coming to our school.”
  • “I learned with this program, the most important is learning English –Don’t quit.”

The program is presented with the support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, and the Friends of the Cranford Public Library. A Few Steps in a Stranger’s Shoes has been supported by a Union County HEART Grant through a grant administered by the Union County Division of Cultural and Heritage Affairs. The March 4 performance is part of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s Stages Festival, an annual statewide event that provides discounted and free theatre performances, workshops and events for families throughout the month of March.

The Stages Festival is a statewide event offering free and discounted tickets to performances, workshops, classes, and events at the state’s professional theaters, as well as in non-traditional venues, such as libraries, schools, senior centers, and museums. The program was developed to encourage New Jersey’s citizens to attend their local professional theaters by making the experience affordable, accessible, and fun. All across the state, patrons will receive free and discounted tickets to more than 100 performances and special events, including classes, workshops, and backstage tours. To receive a full schedule of statewide events for the Stages Festival, visit

Founded in 1981, the New Jersey Theatre Alliance is the first statewide organization for professional, not-for-profit theater companies in the United States. The Stages Festival is a co-sponsored project of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Major funding support is also provided by Bank of America and the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. Additional support has been provided by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Grotta Fund for Senior Care of the Jewish Community Foundation of MetroWest of New Jersey, the HMS Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, the J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, the F. M. Kirby Foundation, the George A. Ohl, Jr. Trust Foundation, the Prudential Foundation, and the Wallerstein Foundation for Geriatric Life Improvement. Discover Jersey Arts is a marketing partner. Visit for more information about other arts programming happening around the Garden State.

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