Issue # 7 – In the Real World

Life Long Dreams

By Brett Dassen, Michelle Frese, and Cassie

Hitchcock; Photos by Dana Caenen, Brett Dassen

and Angela Esler-Whelan

Life Long Dreams is a local performance and fine art non-profit in Las Vegas that helps people with disabilities achieve their dreams of being on stage and performing

for an audience. The Circles team caught up with Tshlene Henried, who co-founded

Life Long Dreams with Cathy Warriner, to ask a few questions about this popular


Circles: You have a very unique name.

Where does it come from?

Tshlene: My name comes from Africa and it

means flower in the mountain, my dad named


Circles: What does Life Long Dreams do?

Tshlene: We specialize in working with

children and adults with special needs doing

performing and creative arts.

Circles: How many years have your

performers been with Life Long Dreams?

Tshlene: We had our first show 5 years

ago with a program called “Wish Upon a

Star”. We encourage students who come

through the program to eventually move on

and welcome new students all the time. At

anytime we could have between 5 and 50

students, it’s like a revolving door.

Circles: How many classes does Lifelong

Dreams have?

Tshlene: We have our dance and music

classes for the first part of the season, and, as

the season progresses we will continue those,

while also adding theater and art classes. We

also plan to add a photography class.

Circles: What type of uniform or costume do the performers wear?

Tshlene: In class we

ask our students to wear

black pants or shorts with

their Life Long Dreams t-shirt so that they

can move around comfortably. For shows our

costumes change depending on what we are


Circles: Can you tell us a little about your


Tshlene: All our teachers are volunteers. We

have a program where well-known performers

and choreographers come to teach our


Circles: Does Life Long Dreams perform

outside of Las Vegas?

Tshlene: Yes. We’ve been to Reno and we

would like to work more in Northwest Nevada,

and eventually in California.

Circles: Who can participate in Life Long


Tshlene: We do not turn anyone away. We

have students from age 5 to 50, mostly with

special needs, but some without.

Circles: If someone wanted more

information or to join your group, who would

they talk to?

Tshlene: You can go to our website at, or

you can call 702-979-4642.

You can also email me at


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Circles in the real world

Spotlight on Megan Roesner, Star from Life Long Dreams

By Cassie Hitchcock

When we at Circles Magazine think of Life Long Dreams we think of Megan Roesner.17-year-old Megan is a team member of Life Long Dreams who has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and ADD due to a stroke at birth. The Cimarron Memorial High junior has been involved in her school’s theater since last year and is currently working on a musical there. She has also performed in an organization called Talent Team.

After high school, Megan plans to go to college to study theater and business. She got her start at Life Long Dreams when her dad showed her an article in the newspaper, and she decided it looked like a lot of fun.

At Life Long Dreams, Megan enjoys singing, acting, and dancing as well as hanging out with the friends she has in the group. Even outside of Life Long Dreams, Megan’s favorite things to do are dancing, singing and spending time with friends.

Megan’s instructor also tells Circles that Megan helps out a lot with encouraging other students at Life Long Dreams. Megan advises any new performers – at Life Long Dreams orelsewhere – not to worry because everyone gets nervous putting on their first show, but says that after a few performances most people get used to it and do fine.