Discussion – 


Discussion – 


Volunteer Makes a Big Impression at Open Door Stage & Screen

Cary and Winnie working at Open Door Stage & Screen

This article is included in our Summer 2022 newsletter!

Winnie is busy making patterns; small ones at first, then scaling them up to use for dresses.

“I couldn’t have done this,” said Cary Johnston, Program Director of Open Door Stage & Screen, gesturing towards Winnie’s work.

Winne Xiao, an international student from China, will be a senior this year at Worthington Christian High School. She’s been in the United States for four years and wants to stay here for college, where she plans to major in fashion design or computer science.

“I work here as a volunteer because I love using my talents and gifts to help others and bring joy to them,” she said.

Winnie at work at Open Door Stage & Screen
Winnie at work at Open Door Stage & Screen
Winnie at work at Open Door Stage & Screen

She enjoys working with Cary at Open Door Stage & Screen where she can use her fashion knowledge and sewing abilities to help our performers with making their costumes.

Winnie wanted to contribute earlier, but COVID restrictions made it difficult to help. She appreciates the opportunity to make a difference and Cary is thrilled to have her.

Currently, she’s making life-sized patterns for dresses to be used in the upcoming Open Door Stage & Screen Fashion Show on September 30th. The show will have an insect and butterfly-theme that folks are excited about, but Cary doesn’t want to give away too much info so audiences can be wowed when they see the performance in the Fall.

Open Door Stage & Screen received a donation of some beautiful fabric that will be used to make costumes. There will be a wedding dress at the end—as is tradition in many fashion shows. They’re embroidering the wings for the wedding dress. Individuals in the program will choose a unique fabric for their own butterfly-inspired costume.

Winnie measures, traces, and cuts. Cary beams. “She’s using math to figure it all out. It’s amazing to me!” Cary says.

The program is also planning a small country music-themed performance for individuals we support and their families. Two of the actresses wanted to portray Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire, with others playing eccentric cowboys and other fun western-themed characters who pop in and out during the show.

Stage preparation for a wild west themed show
Stage preparation for a wild west themed show
Stage preparation for a wild west themed show

The group is also preparing for the Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival, where they will be performing on August 5th at 2pm during the sensory-friendly time.

All this excitement comes on the heels of our successful DisWay show, where cast members shared their love of Disney and Broadway songs with audiences during several fabulous performances.

Check out our DisWay highlight video below!

Much to Cary’s chagrin, Winnie won’t be able to volunteer at the program forever. The plan is that Winnie can make something that our performers, with Cary’s support, can reproduce themselves. It’s hard to make something that’s really well-built without all the tools, so this is a big help.

Cary’s hope is that she can get an additional volunteer with a sewing machine to help with stitching. She believes there are more folks just like Winnie who have a passion for helping others and the skills to make a positive impact on our Open Door Stage & Screen theatre program. 

There are always volunteer opportunities for folks interested in helping. Click here to learn more and become a volunteer with Open Door Stage & Screen!

Open Door

Open Door is a Columbus-based nonprofit provider for individuals with developmental disabilities. Our mission and vision are to inspire life journeys and cultivate valued roles for all people. What door can we open for you?


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