'This is the most important thing to me': Former Olympian, actress Cathy Rigby McCoy fighting to keep non-profit children's arts program alive

COVID-19 has infected arts programs everywhere, including the McCoy Rigby Arts in Yorba Linda
YORBA LINDA -- More than 50 years after Olympian Cathy Rigby helped raise the profile of gymnastics during the 1968 Summer Games, she remains a force. Right now, she and her husband are fighting to keep the arts alive for children involved in a program they created years ago.

To do it, though, they need help. Over the past several years, the non-profit McCoy Rigby Arts in Yorba Linda has worked with thousands of children, training them in several different areas of the performing arts. There are classes in a number of dance styles; you can learn acrobatics, or train in musical theatre. Rigby, who once earned a Tony nomination starring in "Peter Pan," enjoys seeing another generation have just as much fun.

"I've done the Olympics. I've done Broadway. And I have to tell you, this is the most important thing to me. And maybe it's I'm getting older, whatever, but I love seeing those, as Oprah says, those ah-ha moments," said Rigby McCoy.

She loves seeing those moments of achievement, when kids are happy at what they've accomplished. That joy is everything.

There's even a much beloved program here for special needs children called No Limits. What there isn't right now is money. The COVID-19 pandemic has infected arts everywhere. And McCoy Rigby Arts, you could say, is in intensive care.

"We are getting to that point where, you know, been here 12 years, we're hanging on by our fingernails," said Rigby McCoy.

There is now a GoFundMe campaign for McCoy Rigby Arts. The conservatory itself has recently been able to cautiously re-open its doors.

"We are doing everything to keep these kids safe because, frankly, I'd rather close the place down than have one child get coronavirus," said Rigby McCoy. "And that would break my heart."
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