In 1997, a group of young film students learned that Los Angeles public schools were cutting creative arts programs from the budget. Knowing the value arts-education held in their own lives, they created a volunteer-based creative arts program they could take directly into public schools at no cost to the school. In 2003, this program became a 501c3 Non Profit Organization. Today, we serve students in Elementary, Middle, and High Schools, and in a Foster Care Center. We also run summer camps, workshops, and other special programming around Los Angeles and New York City.
The Young Storytellers Foundation develops literacy through the art of storytelling. Using group exercises and one-on-one mentoring, we provide under-served children in the public school system an opportunity to write stories and see them brought to life through live performance or film production. Our mission is to inspire children to discover the power of their own voice.
At the core of our programming are thousands of adult volunteers who donate their time to mentor individual students and perform their works on stage and film. When individuals from the entertainment industry step into public school classrooms to work with students, a critical gap between communities and the businesses that operate within their borders is bridged. Thanks to the incredible generosity of our volunteer teaching artists, we are able to provide more than $2 of programming for every $1 raised. Since YSF’s inception, our trained volunteers have donated more than $3 million of in-kind instruction to public school students.
Each year, we provide programming to approximately 1,000 students in the greater Los Angeles and New York City areas. Nearly 4,000 students attended the public performances of the work written by these talented children. 100% of students in our programs complete a finished script and see it performed.
Interested in other ways to advocate for arts education? Check out our arts advocacy page.
Read Our 2012-13 Annual Report
YSF serves students in public schools ranging in age from eleven to eighteen, with the majority of our current programming serving fifth grade students. Recent demographic sampling of our student population showed the following results:
13% Black/African American
12% Other/Bi- or Multi- Racial
The median household income on the neighborhoods where our schools are located is $39,540. Only 36% of adults in these neighborhoods hold a College Degree. 64% of our students receive free or reduced price lunch. These students are also “arts-poor,” lacking exposure to arts-education programs that YSF, with its programs, serves to supplement.
How We’re Changing Tomorrow
“I felt an achievement. It made me confident in writing and ever since then I’ve loved writing stories and essays. I’ve been in honors English classes, AP English classes. Going into college I have confidence in what I’m doing.”
– Jenny Gonzalez, YSF Alum
“To have someone come in and value my ideas and creativity mid-process was important. Otherwise I don’t know that I would have allowed myself the patience to get those things out.”
– Marushka Mujic, YSF Alum
“It gave me a chance to tap into my full creative potential.”
– Dominic McDonald, YSF Alum
YSF sees a tomorrow where all children are given the opportunity to advance academically, to undergo a process of discovery where they can find a part of themselves that can succeed and excel.
YSF sees a tomorrow with higher rates of high school graduation and matriculation to college.
YSF sees a tomorrow where children can express themselves with words instead of violence.
YSF sees a tomorrow where no matter where you go to school, be it the most affluent private academy or a public school in Inglewood, you are given the tools and opportunities to succeed.
With your help, we can make change, and see that tomorrow… tomorrow.