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The 16 years I have spent living in our home in Rock Island is the longest I have lived anywhere including my childhood home. Though I've probably moved three dozen times in my life, what made my acclimation to the Quad Cities more successful than other places I had lived was the vibrant cultural scene.

Within a week of relocating here, I was cast in a play at Playcrafters Barn Theatre. Barn president Jeff Adamson (now with Comedy Sportz) and his group of volunteers took a chance on a total unknown, and those first QC friends I made are the reason my move here was so seamless and long-lasting.

The Quad Cities is blessed with an outsized abundance of both theater and music opportunities and venues. And one of them needs our help.

Davenport Junior Theatre has been a staple of the cultural scene in the QCA for the past 65 years. Last year, over 1400 kids participated in theater and dance programs through DJT. Now, their home - the Mary Fluhrer Nighswander Theatre - needs renovations.

As the DJT website states, "our cool 1970's orange chairs have fallen out of style and are worn through.  The once springy and comfy cushions are flat and frayed. Our carpet needs replaced desperately. The theatre needs repainted. Structural repairs must take place in our subflooring. And as with any project, there are many more little fixes along the way."

Davenport Junior Theatre has the opportunity to access $100,000 in matching grant funds if they can raise $40,000 on their own by the end of April. Right now, they are closing in on $15,000 raised.

You can help ensure that the Quad Cities cultural future looks bright, and welcoming to strangers, by donating to help Davenport Junior Theater renovate their home here.

- Craig