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14 Things We’re Excited About in 2014

Happy New Year!

YPT recently counted down 14 things (of many) that we make us jazzed about 2014, and we’re excited to share them with you.

1. More students, more schools. Last year, YPT reached 1,800 students, more than ever before in our history. And 2014 is on track to be our biggest year yet, serving 2,000 in new schools and organizations throughout the region. And we won’t stop until EVERY kid knows the power of his own voice.

2. Bragging rights as a featured Catalogue for Philanthropy charity. YPT is proud to be featured in the 2013-2014 Catalogue for Philanthropy. The Catalogue represents some of the best community-based charities in DC, Maryland and Virginia and we are thrilled to be included in 2014. Visit our CFP page for more information!

3. Continuing local partnerships. In the fall, YPT was excited to launch a new partnership with our neighbor Sitar Arts Center to integrate a playwriting program into their arts programming. We had a great time working with Sitar students this year, and thanks to generous support from the England Family Foundation we are excited to continue our program in the spring!

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4. New ideas. Every year, YPT is blown away by our students’ creativity. 2013 brought us such memorable characters as Tim the Sloth and Dr. Pig, robot siblings and important lessons in “chill-ness”, friendship, loyalty and saving the world. We can’t wait to see what our students have in store for us in 2014.

5. Bringing the 524 Project into the classroom. After a semester spent planning and dreaming together, YPT and iO could not be more excited to launch the 524 Project in the classroom in 2014 and connect our students in Detroit and DC. Follow the action on our tumblr!

6. Launching our Teaching Artist Apprenticeship Program. This spring, YPT is partnering with University of Maryland, College Park and Baltimore County to create an exciting new apprenticeship program. College students will apprentice with seasoned YPT teaching artists gaining skills and experience to help them secure paid teaching artist work after graduation and training the next generation of teaching artists in YPT’s model. We’re excited to grow the YPT family!

7. Our partnership with Maya Angelou Academy. In 2013, YPT expanded our programming to serve incarcerated young men at Maya Angelou Academy through a new partnership with the See Forever Foundation and New Beginnings Youth Development Center. This experience was one of our most rewarding partnerships last year, and we are thrilled and honored to return to Maya Angelou this spring to help more students share their stories through playwriting.

8. Our Student Advisory Council. Our students rock. Last year, they launched an independent fundraising project (including their own video) to raise money to bring YPT to Amidon Bowen Elementary School, a school that has spent years on our waiting list. This year, our students are developing creative ways to raise awareness of YPT and exploring ways they can break down youth stereotypes in their communities. We are blown away every meeting by their insight, creativity and enthusiasm and we can’t wait to see what they accomplish in 2014.

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9. The Young Playwrights’ Workshop. Speaking of amazing students, we cannot wait to see what our Workshop students dream up this year. Our students’ original play, Behind the Mask, took the Source Festival by storm last summer and our students are hard at work right now coming up with an idea for their new play, which will be back at Source in June 2014!

10. Our biggest staff yet. YPT welcomed several new staff members this year to support our incredible growth. In 2014, we’re excited to welcome Jeff Gilliland, our new Communications Associate to the YPT team, and to congratulate Laura Wood, our intern-turned-fellow who will become our full-time Community Engagement Assistant in January. With seven full-time staff, three resident teaching artists and two interns, the YPT office will be busier than ever in 2014!

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11. Eat for Good: The 2014 Giving Voice Award Gala. Our Giving Voice Award Gala is back and this year we’re eating for good! On March 14th, join us as we honor local artist, activist and entrepreneur Andy Shallal (founder of Busboys and Poets) and sample our way through DC with food and drinks from local restaurants, enter to win unique raffle prizes and dance the night away to live music. Buy your tickets now!

12. YPTexas! YPT is hitting the road again! In January, YPT staff will be traveling to Hidalgo County, Texas, working with YPT’s own former Resident Teaching Artist Catherine DiSanza to launch a pilot of our program for students in Garcia Elementary School, a school located just miles from the Mexican border.

10. New Writers Now!: Truth and DareJoin YPT in February for an evening of fearless theater as high school playwrights challenge stereotypes and shatter boundaries in four high-stakes new student plays. YPT is bringing our February New Writers Now! to Theater J for the first time, and we can’t wait!

14. The 2014 New Play Festival: bigger than ever! Hands down, our favorite time of year is reading and selecting the plays to be featured in our spring New Play Festival. This year’s Festival promises three nights of hilarious, creative and heartfelt plays written by elementary, middle and high school students. We hope you’ll join us in April!

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