Sometimes the gift of laughter is the best gift of all. The M.A.D. (Music, Arts and Drama) Factory helps hundreds of children, many from under-served populations, build self-esteem and respect for others, all while developing their skills in the arts. Children from toddlers to teens learn a variety of acting exercises, creative movement, general arts and crafts.

The M.A.D. Factory was founded in 1990 when the group hosted 90 children during its first summer program. The students scripted their own show, drawing on experiences written in journals they kept throughout the four-week session.

Twenty years later, the program still creates an environment for students to thrive in, often when the traditional classroom has not. Instructors help generate a comfortable, close-knit team in all the activities, creating an environment in which the children can feel confident to try new things. Students are encouraged to showcase their unique skills, talents and ideas.

To help support the group’s efforts, stop by its First Friday Improv improvisational troupe events at the First Church Fellowship Hall in Oberlin. Performances are held the first Friday of each month September through May. Students interested in participating in M.A.D. summer camps or its two annual productions may call (440) 774-7062, or visit for more information. Scholarships are available based on need.