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Mission Statement

CYT is dedicated to developing character in children and adults through training in the arts and by producing wholesome family entertainment, all of which reflect Judeo-Christian values.

CYT San Diego is a licensed affiliate of CYT Inc. CYT is the largest youth theater program in the nation, with programs across the country. To learn more about CYT and to find out how to start CYT in your city visit

CYT Letter Writing Campaign 2016

Dear CYT Families,

Welcome to CYT San Diego’s Spring Session! As you may know, we are a 501(c)3 organization which relies upon contributions to keep our tuition and ticket prices affordable.  In fact, CYT subsidizes a percentage of every child’s tuition and even provides scholarships for those in need of financial assistance.  This session, we are asking our students to use the age-old art of letter writing to share their CYT experience as we encourage family and friends to consider making a charitable contribution to CYT San Diego. 

During class this session, we shared the details of this campaign with your child(ren). Here is how the Letter Writing Campaign will work:

1. Students have been asked to think of at least 10 people they would like to tell about CYT San Diego.

2. Students have been provided with 10 letter templates to personalize and 10 envelopes to address and return by the 3rd class. CLICK HERE for PDF Templet pg.1  /  CLICK HERE for PDF Templet pg. 2

3. Students will receive one prize entry for every 5 letters/envelopes completed and returned to their teacher. Prizes will include a certificate for 1 year of CYT, an Apple Sport Watch, Disneyland passes and much more. Drawing will take place on May 2nd at 3:30 on CYT TV at

4. CYT will stamp and mail all completed letters collected from students.

5. Students who also use email or social media to share their message will qualify for additional prize entries upon providing adequate documentation of their efforts.

6. CYT will send a thank you note to each of your recipients who make a gift (either via the return envelope or online).  If they donate in the name of a student, we will make sure students are informed so they can write thank you notes as well.

7. CYT will not add the names of your recipients to our mailing list unless they respond and specifically request to receive further information.

This campaign is simple yet vital to CYT San Diego! We hope that the children’s love of CYT, coupled with exciting prizes and recognition opportunities, will help motivate them to write these letters.

If your child is new to CYT, we understand that it may not be comfortable for your family to participate in this campaign.  Our hope is that before this session is over you too will have a personal story to share.

 Thank you for your support and for being part of our CYT Family!

 Janie Russell Cox & Laura Bertagnolli​

About CYT

Christian Youth Theater (CYT) is an after-school theater arts training program for students ages 4 - 18. Since its founding in 1981 in San Diego California, CYT has grown to be the largest youth theater in the nation. There are affiliates across the country training thousands of students a year. CYT is a non-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization funded primarily through its tuition, ticket sales and outside contributions.

Because CYT does not own facilities for classes or productions, the organization works through the local community, utilizing classrooms and stages in churches, schools and local theaters. CYT is not affiliated with a church body, and people of all faiths are welcome.

CYT stands in the forefront in its commitment to the highest ethical, moral, technical and artistic standards of excellence. Instructors are professionals, qualified in teaching and/or performing, who must understand our mission statement, values, objectives and goals. All CYT staff strive to be excellent role models.

Every session (fall, winter and spring) CYT offers theater arts classes for children as an after-school activity. Each local program conducts three ten-week sessions throughout the school year, teaching drama, voice, dance and a broad spectrum of specialty theatrical workshops at weekly two-hour classes. Enrolled students have the opportunity to work behind the scenes, or audition and perform on stage in a Broadway-style musical performed for the community.

Additional performance opportunities are available to CYT students who may participate in CYT Tour Groups performing musical reviews for community and civic functions. Internships, director training, teacher aiding, and being an inclusion aide are other ways for older students to gain additional training and experience. College credit is available for the director internship program through a local accredited college.


Paul & Sheryl Russell, both teachers at Christian High, began a community theater in their family garage in the summer of 1980. The show was The Sound of Music. The purpose was to provide a vehicle for talented amateur performers from the local San Diego community. All performances were held atop beautiful Mt. Helix in La Mesa. The sets were made from cardboard and the lighting was mounted on sawhorses which created scary shadows on the faces of the actors. The audience enjoyed it anyway though, wanting more, so an annual tradition began.

One year later, in 1981, the parents of this newly found organization Christian Community Theater (CCT) asked Paul and Sheryl to start an after-school theater arts program for their children. Paul and Sheryl with two small children and one on the way birthed another child, Christian Youth Theater (CYT). It began with 24 students producing the show; You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.

CYT continued to grow in San Diego County, as parents wanted CYT closer to their neighborhood. Programs opened in Escondido in 1986 and South County in 1987. Other areas soon followed and now CYT is located in 5 areas around San Diego county with an annual enrollment of 4,625 students who take classes, participate in shows and attend summer theater camps.

Over time, some CYT families moved from San Diego to other areas of the U.S.
Their desire to have CYT in their community motivated them to work towards developing the same program in their local cities, thus giving rise to our national group, CYT Inc. in the Fall of 1997.

CYT nationally has grown to be the largest children’s theater organization in the country with more than 38 locations in 22 different cities and enrolling 16,000 students annually.

Values & Objectives

  • Placing the maximum worth on people and treating each individual with respect and significance.
  • Developing character values in individuals including commitment, discipline, self esteem, confidence and integrity.
  • Supporting the family unit through the direct involvement of each family member’s talents, interests and abilities.
  • Providing a quality product without compromising a wholesome environment.
  • Being a Godly role model promoting the awareness of a higher accountability.

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