Peer Mentor 2014-2020 

“I started SGT as a nervous 12 year old, but the bond between John, my buddy, and me grew and we became fast friends. Preparing for our first performance together in Shrek, John and I formed an amazing friendship. [John’s] unfiltered happiness, excitement, and energy inspire me to do good in the world. If not for SGT and John, I would not be the person that I am now. SGT has shown me how to break out of my shell and all that can be done when one puts themselves out there. I have learned so much from the students, mentors, and teachers about patience, focus, courage and how to be a better friend.”     


Peer Mentor 2014-2020 


I started as a peer mentor for Special Gifts Theatre for my Bat Mitzvah project in seventh grade. I really didn’t expect SGT to remain such a huge part of my life for all of these years. The staff, my fellow mentors, and all of the students gave me a place to be myself and have shown me love comes from all types of people in all types ways.  Thank you, SGT, for changing my life. 




Peer Mentor 2011-2016

“A favorite SGT memory of mine is at the end of the Shrek performance, my buddy Jenny and I could not stop crying and hugging each other because we did not want to say goodbye! Jenny and I had become so close throughout the year at SGT together and it was so hard for us to leave. This moment was so special to me because it showed me that I had the same impact on Jenny that she had on me. We both were able to grow and learn from each other throughout the year and I got to see her the next year when I came to visit!” 





Peer Mentor 2007-2015                                                                                          



 “My friendship with Francesca that SGT helped foster has had the greatest impact on my life to this day and I am so grateful to continue to call Francesca my best friend.  SGT taught me to celebrate people of all abilities and provide spaces for joy!”





Reflections from all of our 2021 graduating senior peer mentors in the video below:


Learn more about the impact of our peer mentor program by watching the video below:  



I can’t even describe to you how lucky I am to have discovered this organization.  SGT literally changed my life. It changed my perception of people with disabilities. It changed my approach to people in general. It gave me such an incredible peek into what life is like for those who don’t have everything that I have. More importantly, it gave me an opportunity to meet friends I will have for the rest of my life, special needs or not. I have pictures all over my room of past buddies and productions. SGT allowed me to understand and accept those from all walks of life. I learned the virtues of patience and understanding. And I got to wear some pretty fun costumes along the way.  Being a part of this program has been the most significant and important thing I have ever done…hands down.


    Watch the video below to learn more about the impact of our peer mentor program –                 senior speeches from our Musical Theatre Palatine Program: