Jersey City’s CKPD Partners with Make-A-Wish® New Jersey for Macy’s Believe Campaign Initiative

Acclaimed CKDP to present “Yes, Virginia The Musical” with Citywide
“Letters to Santa” Campaign while benefiting Make-A-Wish New Jersey

Online PR News – 22-November-2013 – Jersey City – JERSEY CITY, NJ , Nov. 20, 2013 -- The critically-acclaimed Conwell Kidz Drama Program (CKDP) at Jersey City’s Frank R. Conwell PS #3 is doing it again – this time bigger and better with the production of “Yes, Virginia The Musical” along with a citywide letter-writing campaign to benefit Make-A-Wish New Jersey.

Starting November 8th, the Conwell School will host a mailbox for over 28,000 Jersey City Public School children to drop-off a letter to Santa to help raise funds for Make-A-Wish®. The letter-writing project was inspired by Macy’s Believe, a nationwide campaign to raise money for Make-A-Wish®. For every letter Macy’s receives, the retailer will donate $1.00 to Make-A-Wish, an international non-profit organization that grants the wishes of children between the ages of 2 ½ and 18 with life-threatening medical conditions.

“We are proud to be the recipient of funds raised through Macy’s Believe campaign because it helps us grant wishes for children in New Jersey with life-threatening illnesses,” said Tom Weatherall, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish New Jersey, “We are tremendously grateful to collaborate with Conwell PS #3 in their efforts to promote this campaign within all of Jersey City’s public schools, and applaud them for their wonderful efforts to give back during this holiday season. Few things humble us more representing this powerful mission than witnessing kids helping kids. Wow!”

The collaboration with Make-A-Wish New Jersey and the CKDP provides an opportunity to expand the letter-writing project citywide to all 28,000 Jersey City Public School students. The letter-writing initiative will be promoted directly to parents as an afterschool, family exercise that will allow children to hone their language arts skills and build their social awareness.

"The Conwell Drama Program continues to find ways to re-invent itself…through this Make-A-Wish initiative, we can show our students the powerful impact the arts has on raising social awareness. The CKDP has grown to a point where we are now in a position to give back on a grand scale and I am excited by that”, says Nicole Oliver, founder and director of CKDP.

To kick-off the letter-writing fundraiser, the Conwell Kidz Drama Program will present a live, sneak-preview performance of “Yes, Virginia The Musical” at the Macy's store at the Newport Mall in Jersey City on Friday, December 6th at 1 PM -- National Believe Day. Children and families area-wide are invited to come enjoy this free performance and bring their letters to Santa to deposit into the Macy's Believe mailbox in the store lobby. For every letter Macy's receives on this day nationwide, the retailer will provide twice the normal dollar match with a $2 donation to Make-A-Wish.

The full-scale performance of The Conwell Kidz Drama Program’s production of “Yes, Virginia The Musical” will run December 18th and 19th at the Frank R. Conwell PS #3 theatre located at 111 Bright Street in Jersey City. The cast will feature Laurelie Mufute (2012 “Annie”) as Virginia and Jordan-River Samuel as her best friend, Ollie, amongst a star-studded cast of talented Conwell students. For ticket information, contact the school office at 201-915-6100.

Children and families wishing to deposit Santa letters for Make-A-Wish can continue to do so throughout the holiday season at any Macy's location or in the red letter box located in the lobby at the Frank R. Conwell Primary School #3 school located at 111 Bright Street in Jersey City, NJ.

“Yes, Virginia The Musical” was first introduced last year as part of the Macy’s Believe campaign and awards an opportunity for eligible grammar or high schools to receive a $1,000 grant to help fund their production. Based on the true story of 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon, who wrote a letter to the New York Sun newspaper in 1897, inquiring about the existence of Santa Claus, this original production was created and produced by Macy's and JWT in conjunction with The Ebeling Group and MEC Entertainment, a division of Mediaedge:cia. “Yes, Virginia The Musical” was adapted from the animated special and storybook by Chris Plehal, by Wesley Whatley (music) and William Schermerhorn (book and lyrics), the Emmy® Award-winning creative team behind the original song “Yes, Virginia (There is a Santa Claus).” The Conwell Kidz Drama Program was proudly announced as one of the grant’s recipients for 2013.

About Conwell Kidz Drama Program
CKDP was founded under the leadership of Nicole Oliver, the Drama Specialist at Conwell P.S. #3 since 2004. Mrs. Oliver has produced and directed more than 20 productions since the program began including "Cinderella", "The Wizard of Oz" and "Beauty and the Beast." CKDP’s mission is to encourage students through creative expression to develop an appreciation for the Arts all while fostering excellence in all subject areas. CKDP was named runner-up in the Disney Planet Challenge for the film “Mission T.O.R.C.H”, an independent film produced by CKDP students. The group has also performed regionally at Tempest Productions, Debaun Center for the Arts, and the Nimbus Dance Company.
CKDP has been featured in the ABC affiliate WABC-TV, The Jersey Journal and The Hudson Reporter for their rendition of Annie Jr., the musical (2012). Click here to see past performance.

About Make-A-Wish® New Jersey (MAWNJ) (
Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. According to a 2011 U.S. study of wish impact, most health professionals surveyed believe a wish-come-true can have positive impacts on the health of children. Kids say wishes give them renewed strength to fight their illnesses, and their parents say these experiences strengthen the entire family.
Make-A-Wish New Jersey was founded in 1983, serving children in every municipality in the Garden State. MAWNJ has granted more than 7,800 wishes since its inception. MAWNJ is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and was recently awarded with a four-star rating, the highest rating, from Charity Navigator. For more information about MAWNJ, call 800-252-WISH or visit and discover how you can share the power of a wish®.

About Macy’s
Macy's, the largest retail brand of Macy's, Inc. (NYSE:M), delivers fashion and affordable luxury to customers at approximately 800 locations in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, as well as to customers in the U.S. and more than 100 international destinations through its leading online store at Via its stores, e-commerce site, mobile and social platforms, Macy's offers distinctive assortments including the most desired family of exclusive and fashion brands for him, her and home. Macy's is known for such epic events as Macy's 4th of July Fireworks® and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade®, as well as spectacular fashion shows, culinary events, flower shows and celebrity appearances. Macy's flagship stores -- including Herald Square in New York City, Union Square in San Francisco, State Street in Chicago, Dadeland in Miami and South Coast Plaza in southern California -- are known internationally and leading destinations for visitors. Building on a more than 150-year tradition, and with the collective support of customers, employees and Macy's Foundation, Macy's helps strengthen communities by supporting local and national charities giving more than $70 million each year to help make a difference in the lives of our customers.
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