The Issue: Arts Education Helps Youth Succeed
Arts education helps youth to become more academically skilled and civically engaged, and to push themselves toward professional careers. Teenagers with low socioeconomic statuses 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 statuses and low involvement in the arts, according to research from the National Endowment for the Arts. Yet in Los Angeles–area schools, arts-education programs are generally underfunded.
The Campaign: Teaching Students to Write Scripts
If 40 people donate $11 or $40 to this Grassroots campaign, then The Young Storytellers Foundation can sponsor two or more students at a local elementary school in the Script-to-Stage program. Every additional $220 raised enables one more child to participate in the program. The first 50 people to donate $40 and register with The Young Storytellers Foundation will also receive a ticket to The Biggest Show event, featuring actors from Glee, at Willows Community School in Culver City on Saturday, October 20, at 6 p.m. The Young Storytellers Foundation’s ultimate goal is to raise $2,750 to fund participation in the program for an entire school for one semester.
During the Script-to-Stage Program, a class of students works with a mentor from the entertainment industry to write their own short scripts. They engage in writing exercises and games to learn about dramatic structure, oral storytelling, and character. Once the scripts are complete, the students present their works in a culminating Big Show, with the roles performed by professional actors such as Cory Monteith from Glee and Josh Radnor from How I Met Your Mother.
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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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