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Volunteer Profile: Matt Maher

By July 1, 2010Recent News

“I came to City at Peace originally because I wanted to do volunteer work that would let me apply my experience as an actor in a way that was socially meaningful. But after a year and half of working with these guys, my rea- sons for staying on have changed. I don’t know what I was expecting exactly, but I quickly discovered that the teenagers and staff of City at Peace are making some of the most thought-provoking, complicated, and emotionally moving theater in New York today. They’re really wrestling with the Big Questions: What kind of world do we live in? Where do I fit in? What kind of person do I want to be? Is a better world possible? If so, how do we bring it about? And what’s more, they’re using their own lives—their own struggles—to ask these questions. That takes a level of sensitivity and guts that few artists have, and even fewer act on.

While I do my best to pass on what I know to help them stage the show, I feel like I learn a lot more than I teach. My reasons for working with City at Peace go beyond what the youth and staff teach me as an actor. These teens are there for each other in a serious way. This work is not easy, but the biggest challenge for me is finding it in myself to rise to the occasion, as they do, and meet them on their level. The cast and staff aren’t just teaching me how to be a better artist, but a better grown-up – a better human being, really. And for that I’m very, very grateful.”

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