Courtney Clarke is the owner of Drama Kids of Wilmington and Delco, as well as this week’s #PeopleOfWilmDE! She was nominated by her friend and employee, Erin. Read her story below:
“I’ve been in Wilmington for 13 years. Both my husband and myself still work in Wilmington, but we moved to Middletown recently. As a family who left the city for the ‘country’, we miss the food and the closeness of the community. You always felt like family in Wilmington.
I grew up in New Castle, DE, and my first job was coaching gymnastics at what used to be Diamond Gymnastics. I stayed in this genre of work for a long time. I then ran/worked at The Little Gym of Wilmington. I moved to Florida to open a Little Gym there, and when life brought me back to DE as a young 20-something, I settled in on Gilpin Ave right off of Trolley Square.
I loved my time in both Trolley and the Flats. Being able to walk to anything; the library, the park, Gibraltar, the store, good food, was amazing. My favorite events are the Italian and Brandywine Arts Festivals. The accessibility was my favorite! Wilmington is so vibrant, full of opportunities, and ever-changing. You truly can find it all in this city, and that’s what I love about it.
Drama Kids would not be where it is without the generosity of local Wilmington businesses and families. Immanuel Highlands Church was a huge help, allowing me spaces for camps and classes. Gymboree also connected me to so many people. Barry and the Brandywine Arts Festival and the Ice Cream Festival are two huge events each year that have helped grow this business. Something that stands out is definitely each time I was featured by Delaware Business Times and got to go to King Creative for photo shoots and interviews. I felt like a celebrity, which I am not!
Drama Kids was one of the pilot programs of The Teen Warehouse. We have adopted a highway section off 202 and do our part to keep it clean. Each year, we hold a fundraiser cabaret and donate to a local charity or person in need.
Right now, my main concern is making sure our students/children feel safe in our classes. We do that now with masks, temperature checks, and social distancing. Giving children a positive, safe outlet right now is of the utmost importance.
I am hopeful that some of the stigma surrounding the city can be forgotten and the beauty and culture that the city becomes the focus.
My advice for Wilmingtonians is to explore! Get out there! Connect! Try all the food, go to Market Street and walk around, listen to the music! Take your lunch break outside if you can, and really see for yourself what we offer.”