Happy New Year! Traditionally at this time, we present a countdown of things that we are excited for in the coming year. In honor of our 20th Anniversary, we are mixing it up a bit this year!
Start your 2015 with this list of ten YPT milestones: Then and Now. Join us in celebrating our past and gearing up for the future!
This list was first published on our Facebook page, and is being reposted here with a few edits and additions.
Then: In 1997, YPT celebrated our first year as an official nonprofit, offering programs in three schools in Washington, DC.
Now: YPT is projecting to serve 2,500 students in 27 schools across all eight wards of DC. We are honored to provide the opportunity for so many young people to share the power of their own voices with their communities! None of this would be possible without the support of our partner schools, our donors and funders, the DC theater community and the rest of the incredible YPT family. Thank you all for 20 great years!
Now: YPT’s 20th Anniversary Giving Voice Award Gala will be our biggest gala yet! The event will be held on Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 7pm at the National Press Club. Much more to come, so mark your calendars!
Then: In 2010, we launched our first In-School Playwriting Program at Lincoln Multicultural Middle School, establishing a continuum of programming between it and its feeder high school, Bell Multicultural High School.
Now: Through our Dream Impact Map, we are seeking to establish elementary, middle and high school continuums in Wards 1, 7 and 8 of DC. These will allow us to serve students in those neighborhoods three times during their scholastic careers! We can’t wait to work with them as they blossom into mature, creative and empowered adults.
Then: In 2011, YPT was excited to launch our programming at Powell Elementary School, reaching students in the Petworth neighborhood for the first time.
Now: We can’t wait to return to Powell this spring and expand into a new classroom as part of our 20 Classroom Challenge! (Cool fact: our 2015 Giving Voice Award recipient is an alumna of Powell. Who is she? Stay tuned to find out!)
Want to sponsor our new classroom at Powell? Visit our 20 Classroom Challenge page to learn more!
Then: In 2010, YPT received the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. YPT student Mariana Pavon Sanchez was the only youth participant invited to speak at the ceremony. She told the large audience, which included First Lady Michelle Obama: “Don’t be afraid to express yourself through writing. It’s important.”
Now: YPT remounted Mariana’s play as part of our 20th Anniversary Festival, our celebration of 20 years of student voices and DC theater. GALA Hispanic Theatre brought Mariana’s play to life again in a powerful and resonant way!
Then: In 1999, YPT moved into the Josephine Butler Parks Center with four full-time staff members.
Now: We are proud to employ a staff of 11 artist-administrators, dozens of Teaching Artists and over 30 professional theater artists hired to bring our students’ work to life onstage and in the classroom.
Help us keep growing and support DC’s arts community by giving to YPT today!
Then: In 2008, YPT launched the Young Playwrights’ Workshop, an after-school ensemble open to students interested in creating and performing original, collaborative theater.
Now: YPT’s Workshop has grown more than we could have imagined, with students performing their original pieces in the Capital Fringe Festival, INTERSECTIONS and CulturalDC‘s annual Source Festival. Our students are currently hard at work on their piece for this year and we can’t wait to see their play premiere at Source on June 15, 2015 at 7pm.
Then: In 2008, we offered our first In-School Playwriting Program at Claremont Immersion School in Arlington, VA, expanding our flagship program beyond DC proper for the first time.
Now: In 2014, we took the next huge step, launching our first In-School Program at a school outside the DMV entirely: Graciela Garcia Elementary School in Pharr, Texas. Led by Teaching Artist Catherine DiSanza, Garcia’s fourth graders produced incredible work and improved their standardized test scores by 7 points in writing and 11 points in reading! The program has grown by leaps and bounds since then, and we can’t wait to reach even more of South Texas’ bright and inventive young people.
Then: In 2009, YPT premiered Choosing Change, a collaborative piece created by adjudicated youth at Oak Hill Academy, in partnership with Mentoring Today and the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services. Through poetry, prose and interactive storytelling, Choosing Change shared the heart of those who traveled through the DC Juvenile Justice System – and how the system is regaining its heart.
Now: Oak Hill is now New Beginnings Youth Development Center, and YPT will bring our program to a new group of scholars there this spring. Recently, New Beginnings teacher Chelsea Kirk told us: “[Your] playwrights … helped my scholars see that their life stories and the struggles, successes, issues, and concerns that they face each day shouldn’t be hidden or untold, but … can come to life.” It is our honor to help these young people bring their stories into the world.
Then: In 1995, playwright Karen Zacarías returned to her hometown of DC with an MFA in playwriting and a deep desire to use her art to positively impact her community. She began volunteering teaching playwriting in one school and our story began.
Now: Now in our 20th year, YPT serves over 2,000 students per year across the DC metro area and beyond. Our professional productions bring over 25 student-written plays into the community every year, and our special projects have impacted young people from Texas to Detroit to Russia.
Ring in the new year with a gift to YPT and see where our work will take us next!