Picture perfect

Zaneta Encarnacion

Thu April 28, 2016 9:00pm

Kelly family

It’s not every day that you meet an amazing lady like Erin Kelly and who has made a huge impact in the lives of many in our community. Kelly and her husband Cole have lived in Eastlake for 14 years. Their children Madilyn (11) and Owen (9) both attend Salt Creek Elementary School.
“We love the sense of family and community that Eastlake brings us. It has that small town feel. You see people you know out dining or during that quick trip to Target that all of us mom’s make every few days. It brings a sense of peace and security. I know the families of my kids friends. We are all able and willing to look out for one another.”
Kelly’s husband owns Mr. Hookup Networks, a local small business that provides IT support to businesses in Eastlake, Chula Vista and throughout the region. But it Kelly’s two jobs that has found her beloved by many families in our community. Kelly owns Silent Stories, a local photography business and has taken family pictures for many Chula Vista families. Many of these families now consider Kelly a family friend. Kelly has the privilege of seeing and capturing the best of families.
Many youth in the community would recognize Kelly’s big smile and infectious laugh because of her role as Area Coordinator for South County Christian Youth Theater (CYT). Managing large groups of children and teens is a job not for the weak. Now throw in the work of managing parent volunteers and very few would be able to bring the joy and excitement Kelly brings every day – contagious joy that is reflected on the faces of each child. Kelly is successful because she has been involved in CYT since she was 10-years-old and knows first-hand the positive effects of theater and the arts
Kelly has seen the CYT program transform the lives of the youth and their families. She shared a story about a mom looking for an activity for her son. The husband of this mom was a Navy Seal and deployed quite a bit. Not only did CYT spark a passion for theater in the mom’s son, but the mom instantly gained a strong support system and community within the CYT families.
“I have watched children too afraid to audition fight through their tears and build just enough courage to stand up and audition go on to win their school’s speech contests and later have leading roles in CYT. There are countless stories like this and watching the growth in each one of these kids brings me so much joy. It’s incredible to watch the other kids cheering each other on and supporting and rooting for one another.”
Kelly’s current schedule is packed preparing for CYT’s spring show Thoroughly Modern Millie, which will show on the last two weekends of May at Mater Dei’s theater. Kelly beams when speaking about the talent and passion the kids are bringing to rehearsal and encourages everyone in the community to attend a showing for a fun, family night of theater arts in Chula Vista!
While May is a month to celebrate and pamper mom’s, Kelly is working hard to prepare CYT kids and parents for their final show of the season. You might say that Kelly is a mom to hundreds in our community – the fun, cool mom whose laugh and encouraging words are treasured by those on the receiving end.
“The most important lesson that I want to pass onto my children is to be kind. Of course I want them to always try to do their best at school and eventually in the careers they choose, but at the end of the day...it’s about the amount of love and kindness we are able to extend to one another. I try and teach them that God put us here to love one another. Everyone is special so we must appreciate and celebrate one another’s differences. In our family kindness is key.”
Kelly’s most prized Mother’s Day gift is quality time with her family and what she is looking forward to the most this year. And what better way to enjoy quality time than to treat your mom/wife to a family night of theater fun at an upcoming Thoroughly Modern Millie show. You are sure to see Kelly there; she will be the one holding it all together with a warm smile and bubbly laugh. For tickets and show times visit www.cytsandiego.org.
Zaneta Salde Encarnacion, Executive Director of the Southwestern College Foundation.