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Hidden Gems: Meet Joshua Levy of Joshua’s Stage

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joshua Levy.

Joshua, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
When I was a child, I was writing stories and plays, and I produced plays in my room where my sister was the star and kids in the neighborhood were also performers. I started working with special needs individuals when I was in middle school and I continued serving as a teaching assistant throughout high school. While I wanted to pursue acting my mother suggested that I study special education and I followed her advice. After graduating from the University of Nebraska in December 1998, I taught special education at the elementary and high school levels in Austin for nine years; I was also an assistant principal for elementary and high school during that time. I worked in the private sector for nine years in project and program management for an educational publishing company, and I acquired my MBA along the way.

In the fall of 2015, the Universe called me and while I hoped a Ferrari was coming my way, actually the vision for what is now Joshua’s Stage was formed. Joshua’s Stage incorporated as a nonprofit organization in March 2016 and it has been organically growing since. Joshua’s Stage is an enrichment program for special needs individuals ages 3 to adults, featuring summer camps, after-school programs, and workshops including activities such as theater arts, improv, arts and crafts, music, dance, photography, create-a-story, and showcase. As Joshua’s Stage has evolved, I have observed and reflected upon what is leading to our success as well as challenges we have encountered. I have found that I created a unique and innovative program – an actual curriculum that I call The Creative Outlet Method – that serves as the foundation for our programs. The Creative Outlet Method not only focuses on the instructors successfully engaging the participants, it also has a focus on team members working cohesively and collaboratively. With the success of The Creative Outlet Method, I wrote a book called The Creative Outlet Method: At-Home Activities for Children with Special Needs. The book is being published by Jossey-Bass publishing and will be available on September 7, 2022. So that I can train parents and educational organizations in The Creative Outlet Method, in January 2020, I started Joshua Levy Educational Consulting.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
While our initial pilot program in summer of 2016 was a success some of our following programs did not make as we were the new kid on the block. Finding the ratio for instructors to participants was an evolving process – we know for our programs it’s one instructor for every three participants. Joshua’s Stage has a strong program and we are better positioned to present our needs which includes asking for funding so that low-income families whose children have special needs can participant in our programs at little to no cost.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Joshua’s Stage is the premiere enrichment program for special needs individuals ages three to adults featuring after-school programs, camps, workshops, and individual enrichment programs including activities in theater arts, improv, arts and crafts, music, dance, photography, create-a-story, and showcase. Participants in our programs have the opportunity to demonstrate their creativity, increase their self-confidence, and build their social skills in a warm and welcoming environment. Someone recently shared with me something to the effect of, “Wow, so you take kids with autism, ADD/ADHD, Down syndrome, and other special needs in one room and do stuff with them?” Yes, that is exactly what we do! We use The Creative Outlet Method which includes positive behavior supports so that our team focuses on participants’ positive behaviors while engaging participants in fun activities so that negative behaviors have smaller chances of occurring. I love watching our teams in action – I love seeing and hearing them collaborate during the set-up time before the participants arrive, I love seeing our time lead activities while utilizing the components of The Creative Outlet Method.

I love seeing the participants getting excited and having fun doing the activities. I love that the participants enjoy experiencing our positive behavior supports including the HIPPP Rules and the Three Audience Types. Joshua’s Stage can do birthday parties and playdates! We also can conduct an individual enrichment program. For example, I meet with a Canadian man in his 50’s weekly on Zoom; he shares his ideas for a screenplay and I write them down. I write a script with his ideas and the following week, we read the script using different voices for the characters. While our activities are facilitated by team members, we provide a participant-centered environment. We provide the space for participants to expand their imaginations and we celebrate each participant’s unique abilities and we try to help each participant shine in their own light. I love when participants start our programs kind of quiet and reserved and within days or weeks, they are the divas of the group. Sometimes our instructors start out a bit reserved and within a few days or weeks, they simply cannot get enough of how much fun this is! I love hearing from team members when they tell me the stuff in The Creative Outlet Method works!

Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
What I am doing for Joshua’s Stage is my life; it’s my passion; I work tirelessly to serve our team members. I strongly desire for each of our participants to have a positive experience. I think to myself wow, oh wow, this is amazing. Look what I am doing. I am helping an organization grow and flourish. I am serving other people – our team members and our participants – with my strong desire that they can be the best versions of themselves and then some. I really, truly want people to feel good about what they are doing. The more I think about it the more I realize just how incredible Joshua’s Stage is. I am very humbled that I get to serve others in this way.


  • Summer Camps range from $275 to $3,000 depending on how many weeks a participant enrolls

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Image Credits
April Paine Photography

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