Virginia House of Delegates Honors Acting for Young People and Mason Community Arts Academy


On Tuesday, March 19, 2024, Delegate Kathy Tran presented Mason Community Arts Academy Executive Director Mary Lechter with House Resolution 804, in honor of Acting for Young People’s (AFYP) 25th anniversary in 2022. Co-signed by Delegate David Bulova and unanimously approved by the entire House of Delegates, the Resolution highlights AFYP’s long history in the surrounding community, and the even greater impact these programs have had, made possible in collaboration with Mason Community Arts Academy (MCAA).

Delegate Kathy Tran, of the Virginia House of Delegates, smiles at the camera while holding a physical copy of the commendation for Acting For Young People (AFYP). Mary Lechter, Founder of AFYP and Executive Director for Mason Community Arts Academy holds up the opposite side of the commendation.
Delegate Kathy Tran (L) presented Mary Lechter (R), founder of AFYP and executive director of Mason Community Arts Academy, with a commendation honoring the work of AFYP on March 19, 2024.

“I’m truly humbled by this honor,” notes Lechter. “This recognition is especially meaningful, as we have had the opportunity to work with children from both the Tran and Bulova families in our Acting and Music programs over the years. Perhaps most important of all is the feedback Delegate Tran shared in person, and includes in the Resolution itself, commending our staff and faculty for the authentic experiences they provide for our students. It has always been my goal to provide a warm, welcoming, and inclusive environment in which students can learn and grow. I am touched that we’ve been acknowledged for this core value of our programs.”

Founded by Mary Lechter in 1997, AFYP started out offering classes for youth in the Fairfax area, gradually expanding to after-school and summer camp programs. In 2012, Lechter entered into a partnership with MCAA, bringing AFYP into the organization to become the theater education wing of the academy. Since that time, AFYP has received multiple area awards for its camps and year-round lessons.

The strength of this partnership is also evident in the ways that AFYP and MCAA weathered the impacts of the pandemic shutdown. Their fully online programming for summer 2020 consisted of 74 programs serving 1,023 students from 32 states and 11 countries. As the region emerged from the lockdowns and returned to in-person activities, MCAA and AFYP returned to pre-pandemic enrollment numbers by the summer of 2022, and are continuing to expand their enrollment and their impact throughout the region.