$10 Donation to Help Fund a Youth Script-Writing Program

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In a Nutshell

Donations enable students to write and film short scripts with a mentor and see them performed by professional actors

The Fine Print

100% of donations go directly to Young Storytellers Foundation. Donations are automatically applied. Must provide full name at checkout. See Grassroots FAQs that apply to this campaign. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

The Issue: Role of Arts Education in the Lives of Youth

Arts education helps youth become more academically skilled and civically engaged and push themselves toward professional careers. Teenagers with low socioeconomic status but high involvement in the arts were 15% more likely to enroll in a highly or moderately selective four-year college; 14% more likely to vote in a national election; and 30% more likely to choose a major in line with a professional career, such as accounting or nursing, than their peers with low socioeconomic status and low involvement in the arts, according to data from the National Endowment for the Arts. Yet in schools across the country, arts-education programs are generally underfunded.

The Campaign: Empowering Students to Create Short Films

If 25 people donate $10 to this Grassroots campaign, then Young Storytellers Foundation can sponsor one returning student in the New York Middle School Movie Makers program. Each additional $250 raised enables another student to participate in the program.

During the Middle School Movie Makers program, a class of students at PS 111 works with a mentor from the entertainment industry to write their own short scripts. Through engaging writing exercises and games, they learn about dramatic structure, oral storytelling, and character development. The mentors also foster the students' confidence by valuing their ideas and praising their work. Once the scripts are complete, professional actors bring the scripts to life and take direction from the students, who film and edit their shorts with iPads and iMovie. Completed films are screened at a special event for family and friends.

Young Storytellers Foundation

Upon hearing that Los Angeles public schools' arts budgets were going to be cut, a group of screenwriters founded Young Storytellers Foundation (YSF) to share the joy that writing brought to their lives with local students. YSF teaches youth about the art of storytelling through group exercises and one-on-one mentoring that helps develop literacy and leadership skills. Mentors work with about 700 students in 35 schools on the west coast, but have begun expanding their programs into New York. The youth can explore their personal goals and conflicts through the written word and learn how to translate that into a screenplay format. They then write their own scripts and see them come to life on stage or screen, with performances by professional actors.

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