Young Storytellers develops creative learning behaviors through the art of storytelling. These include curiosity, open-mindedness, imaginative thinking, the ability to identify and solve problems, collaborative problem solving, and confidence in students’ right and ability to influence change. Using group exercises and volunteer mentors, we provide underserved young people in the public school system an opportunity to write stories and see them brought to life. At the core of our programming are thousands of adult volunteers who donate their time to mentor individual students and perform their work.
When looking for how this program impacts young people, one statistic stands out: 100% of Young Storytellers participants complete their project. Put another way, every student that begins to write a script completes it. For young people who may not see themselves reflected in the current offerings on TV and film, the one-on-one mentorship provided by Young Storytellers offers support as they develop their confidence and agency.
Students leave the program with the knowledge that their stories matter and that their unique voices can be the ones telling them.
Script to Stage
A semester-long, Common Core-aligned elementary school program where students write their own original short script, then see it performed live by professional actors.
The Script-to-Stage program meets once a week for ten weeks, typically for an hour during unstructured school lunch time. Led by a volunteer Head Mentor, each session is a mixture of creative game play and one-on-one writing time. Students are paired with a mentor from the entertainment industry to help guide and encourage them as they imagine and develop their own short script. At the end of the program, professional actors volunteer to perform the students’ scripts at an in-school assembly called the “Big Show.”
Day of Story
A one-day, in-school program that pairs adult mentors one-on-one with a 4th grade student to get them excited about creative storytelling.
A condensed version of the Script to Stage program, Day of Story workshops see mentors help students to create their own story outline and descriptive poster. At the end of the workshop, each student presents their poster to the rest of the group, and their hard work is celebrated with a pizza party. Young Storytellers has run the Day of Story workshop with variable sizes of groups (anywhere from 20-100 adult mentors), with corporations such as Disney, ABC, Verve, and STX Entertainment.
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A semester-long writing and storytelling program for sixth graders that uses superheroes to support self-exploration.
Story Lab, developed in partnership with Warner Bros. and LAUSD’s Arts Education Branch and Division of Instruction, delivers original curriculum to sixth-grade middle school students that focuses on core storytelling skills while reinforcing confidence, empathy, and personal voice through self-reflection and creativity. Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment lent the use of its DC Super Heroes as a tool to get students to think about heroes in their lives and their own “super powers.”
A college-based opportunity for community engagement around Young Storytellers programming.
College Chapters offer students in higher education an opportunity to develop and implement Young Storytellers programs in their local community. This serves the dual purpose of expanding the geographic reach of Young Storytellers while also demonstrating the accessibility of a higher education to children who otherwise might have no relationship to a college or university. With active chapters at USC, UCLA, Columbia University, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Cal State Northridge, Cal State Los Angeles, and Studio School Los Angeles, each program involves ten college students mentoring ten Script to Stage students in a local public school. College students studying theatre are recruited to participate as actors in the Big Shows.