Meet the Enz Family!

Summer 2021 brings the 17th season of Hearts to Art! The long history of this remarkable performing arts camp includes so many stories of amazing families.

Even in this past extraordinary year, the Hearts to Art community was able to stay in action. Meet Michael, Heidi,  Gretchen, and Hanna Enz, and their mother Susan Enz.

Meet Michael, the fundraiser:

Auditorium Theatre: Hi, Michael, tell us about yourself!

Michael: My name is Michael Enz. I am 16 years old and a junior at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, IL. I play soccer, basketball, and volleyball.   I have been collecting sports cards since I was 11 years old. I have an eBay business, I love going to my youth group, and I like to hang out with friends. I live with my mom Susan and 3 sisters Heidi, Gretchen, and Hanna, and my dog Chewie. I lost my dad in 2013 to brain cancer when I was 9 years old.

AT: How did you come to know about Hearts to Art?

Michael: My sister Heidi has been going for the past 3 summers.  I liked watching the Talent Show and Final Performance at the end of camp.

AT: What is it about Hearts to Art that inspired you to want to help?

Michael: What inspired me to help Hearts to Art is that I want to help kids who have gone through loss like I have. This camp helped my sister to open up, be more confident in herself, and be happier. That is important to me.

AT: You created a unique fundraiser for Hearts to Art to – how did it work? Who contributed? Was it successful?

Michael: I did a live sports card break on Instagram. I sold $40 spots to friends, family, youth group friends, people on Facebook and Instagram. I donated 3 unopened basketball card boxes from my own collection. I randomized the spots for a specific team. As I opened the card boxes live on Instagram, the cards of a player from a specific team would go to the people who bought spots. Whoever purchased a “spot” had the opportunity to possibly get a card like Jai Morant or Zion Williamson that could be potentially worth $100 to $1,000.

Most people that bought spots just really wanted to help Hearts to Art as I explained how special the camp is to my sister and my family. All of the proceeds from the “spots” sold were donated to Hearts to Art – $1,200 in total.

It’s hard to explain, but card breaks are really fun in the sport card hobby and I turned it into a fundraiser for a camp that is pretty special.

AT:  You are an inspiring young man, what would you like to tell others about Hearts to Art to inspire them to step up and help?

Michael: Think about what you take for granted each day. No one knows how much time you have on this earth and you have to cherish every moment.

Meet Heidi, the camper:

Auditorium Theatre: Hi, Heidi! How would you describe Hearts to Art to someone who doesn’t know anything about it?

Heidi: It is a warm, loving environment where everyone feels like family. Hearts to Art is a place we can express ourselves and feel safe doing it. It is a place I know I can feel included and not alone knowing I am surrounded by people that are going what I am going through. I have friends there that I can relate to because they have lost a parent, too.

AT: What is your favorite Hearts to Art memory?

Heidi: My favorite Hearts to Art memory is when my healing counselor tried really hard to create a slime activity for my small group. All I can say is it was “slime gone wrong” and we laughed a whole lot about it. It took us many tries, but we finally made the slime. It brought me closer to my group and I felt more comfortable sharing my feelings.

Meet Gretchen and Hanna, new campers:

Auditorium Theatre: This will be your first summer with Hearts to Art. What are you looking forward to?

Gretchen: I am looking forward to making new friends like me, having a great time with staff members, and making great memories. I am excited for the Talent Show to show who I am and why I came here.

Hanna: I am looking forward to meeting new people and the counselors. Heidi told me it is a blast, and I can’t wait for this camp!

Meet Susan, the mom:

Auditorium Theatre: Susan, thank you for sharing your family’s story with us. How did you hear about Hearts to Art?

Susan: My neighbor Christine told me about the camp. She supports the arts and the Auditorium Theatre and saw information about the camp in an email from Auditorium Theatre. She thought it would be a great opportunity for my daughter Heidi (who was 9 at the time) to work though her grief through the arts.

AT: How would you describe the impact Hearts to Art has had on your family and on Heidi?

Susan: This camp has changed my daughter Heidi’s life. She had a very hard time processing her dad’s death as she was only 4 years old. As the years passed by the anger and sorrow continued to stew inside of her. Therapy has helped a lot but going to this camp the summer of her 3rd grade year really turned a happiness switch on inside of her.

AT: What would you want people to know about this program?

Susan: This is an incredible program. Going to a camp which has campers and counselors that have gone through the same heart wrenching loss is indescribable. There is something about the bond they all share together that helps facilitate the healing process.

It is such a well-run camp and helps children in more ways than we will ever know. Hearts to Art s so important to so many people and should never ever stop. I am so thankful that the Executive Director of the Auditorium Theatre years ago started this camp knowing how important it is for grieving children to have a safe way to process unimaginable grief and sorrow.

Thank you, Michael, and thank you to everyone in the Enz family for being an important part of the Hearts to Art family.

 If you know of a young person who could benefit from the healing power of creative play, please share information about Hearts to Art with their caregivers.

Support Hearts to Art with your own gift. Donate now!

Photo of the Enz Family, courtesy of Susan Enz.