I’m Running for YPT Because …

It’s hard to believe, but the mornings are getting cooler, shelves are stocked with back-to-school supplies, and here at YPT we are gearing up for an amazing new year of programming and performances. Summer is almost over, and in less than two months, YPT staff and friends will be lacing up their running (or walking) shoes to Race for a Cause on October 14th!

Why run for YPT? For a little inspiration, check out some of our staff members’ personal motivations, and register today to join us! Already registered? Share why you’re running for YPT in the comments section, or on our Facebook page and help inspire others. Let’s show Acumen Solutions that we have the best community of support around!

Name: Nicole, Associate Artistic Director

Team: Magnet Dude

I’m running for YPT because …

I want to say yes to all the schools on our waiting list. There is so much demand for our programming – we need to grow so we can serve more students!

I run … never. Never ever. That’s dedication right there! I’ll be huffing and puffing with the “go at your own pace” crew. In fact, I’ll probably be behind the crew. But I’ll be there!

Name: Alison, Development and Producing Associate

Team: Supergirl

I’m running for YPT because …

I want my first official race to support an organization that I care deeply about.

I run … sometimes. A couple miles on the treadmill, or a few laps around my block on the rare occasion when it’s not a steam bath outside. But I’m ready to go beyond my comfort zone, and what better reason to participate in my first 8k than running to support the arts, and YPT’s goal to serve more students than ever before this year! If our students are brave enough to share their dreams, hopes and fears with the world through their plays, I think I can make it to the finish line. I just may need a very large Gatorade.

Name: Laurie, Program Associate

Team: Flatworm

I’m running for YPT because …

Finally, I will be able to truly compete in something involving physical ability. 

Ever since I was a kid I’ve been extremely competitive, but have never been able to channel that into sports because I’m pathetically unathletic.  When it came to geography bees or Crypto (an awesome math game from my freshman algebra class) I was known to flip desks and scream “IN YOUR FACE!” when I was on a winning streak, but in gym class I always hung back.  I mean, I rocked at badminton when we got to play that, but anything that involved real coordination or strength was not my forte.  But now that I am in the Flatworm 1 Mile Walk/Run group, I feel confident that I can dominate over the children and elderly that will be running alongside me.  Finally, I will be able to truly compete in something involving physical ability.  Please have “Eye of the Tiger” cued up for my victory lap around Arlington.

Name: Brigitte, Acting Executive Director

Team: Magnet Dude

I’m running for YPT because …

I believe that what YPT students have to say matters. Plus, it’s a great excuse to buy sweet new running shoes.

I’m going to be honest. I don’t run. I’ve never run a city block – let alone an 8K. But I believe deeply in YPT, and I’ll do anything for our students – even it means running/walking/dragging myself over the finish line on October 14. I’ve even downloaded a running app for my phone and started thinking about my 8K playlist. That counts as training, right? I’m so excited to see the YPT community pull together this October to show YPT students that their voices matter, their stories are important and their dreams are achievable. It’s going to be an inspiring day, and I can’t wait to be part of it.

Are you already planning how to spend your share of the $2000 that Acumen Solutions will award to top race winners, or are you just excited to get outside and get some exercise with friends? Share your story with us, and follow us throughout the fall for training tips, inspirational stories and updates! Remember, the more people who race for us, the more money we raise to teach young people that their voices count! 

Thank you, as always, for your amazing support!  See you on October 14th!

For more information on the 2012 Acumen Solutions Race for a Cause8k and 1 Mile Fun Run, click here.

April Pizza Adventures Part IV: RedRocks Pizzeria

We did it!  A huge thank you to everyone who participated in our pizza party fundraising marathon this April. We had a great time exploring local pizza joints, raising money for the New Play Festival, and sampling all kinds of pizza.

On Wednesday, April 18, RedRocks Pizzeria in Columbia Heights very generously agreed to donate 30% of their happy hour proceeds to YPT, so Wednesday evening I took a break from all the exciting preparations leading up to the New Play Festival (opening on Monday!) and headed over to RedRocks. The cozy pizza restaurant is located in a converted row house just a few blocks from the Columbia Heights metro, and it was a welcome shelter from the cold, wet Wednesday evening. I found families and young professionals alike enjoying RedRocks neopolitan-style thin crust pizzas and after-work specials.

Highlights:

  • $6.50 margarita pizzas during happy hour. And these pizzas weren’t small– you could easily eat your fill and still have leftovers for lunch the next day.
  • The cozy atmosphere, especially on a gray, rainy evening in the middle of the week.
  • While I did not sample the calzones this visit (also a happy hour special), I caught a glimpse, and they looked delicious – and huge!
  • Thin crust European-style pizza. Although I love all kinds of pizza, I must say this is my favorite.
  • How friendly and accommodating the staff was as people came and went from our YPT pizza party – they even extended their happy hour specials until 8pm.
  • And of course, how awesome RedRocks is for hosting our final YPT pizza party!

Overall, RedRocks is a perfect neighborhood restaurant if you’re in the Columbia Heights area and craving delicious, restaurant-style pizza in a fun, relaxed atmosphere. I’m sure I and the other members of the YPT staff will be back.

So my journey has come to an end.  While it may be awhile before I’m hungry for pizza again (maybe by the next New Play Festival), I’ve had a great time discovering local pizza joints and making new friends in the community. I’m so impressed by how generous our local businesses are, and I want to thank them all – Pete’s Apizza, Flippin’ Pizza, HomeMade Pizza Company and RedRocks Pizzeria – for supporting YPT, our New Play Festival, and our amazing students.

And of course, a big thank you to YOU, our amazing supporters, for participating in our events and following my adventures (and a special shout-out to my roommate and YPT enthusiast Ashley, who participated in three out of our four fundraisers and even brought a crowd of friends to RedRocks – with only minimal pressure from me!)

How many pizza places did you visit in April?  Share you photos, or your stories on our Facebook page – we’d love to hear your thoughts!

Next up: The New Play Festival!  Now that we’ve raised all the dough (haha), join us on Monday, April 23, and Tuesday, April 24, at 7:30pm, at GALA Hispanic Theatre, to celebrate the achievements of twelve incredible young playwrights. Monday features seven hilarious, family-friendly plays written by some of our younger students, while Tuesday features five plays insightfully exploring more mature issues written by some of our older students. Join us at 7pm on both nights for a special pre-show reception with food and drink.  And I promise … no pizza.

Thank you, as always, for your support. We can’t wait to see you next week.  In the meantime, I’m off to the gym!

Alison
Development and Producing Associate

April Pizza Adventures Part III: HomeMade Pizza Company

YPT’s Pizza Adventures continue! On Tuesday, April 17, HomeMade Pizza Company’s Logan Circle location generously sponsored YPT’s third pizza fundraiser, donating part of proceeds from all sales of large pizzas, salads, breadsticks and gift cards for the entire day to support the New Play Festival (they even opened two hours earlier than usual for our event!)

Our pizza party on Tuesday was, in fact, an adventure, but with a delicious happy ending. Upon arrival at HomeMade we discovered their unique business model = no ovens (note to self: thoroughly research all pizza places before arrival). HomeMade offers a unique spin on “homemade pizza” by selling pre-made pizzas, breadsticks and desserts that you bring home and cook in your own oven, to capture that just-made taste without having to go out and buy all the ingredients. Luckily, they also had a variety of delicious salads, so YPT’s afternoon break became a salad break (my Cabo Salad was topped with delicious avocado slices and honey-lime dressing, while other staff members sampled a pear and goat cheese salad and their aptly-named “Big Salad”).

Yet, intrigued by this concept, I stopped by HomeMade after work to pick up a large veggie pizza, snuck it on the metro, and recruited a friend for a pizza party in the comfort of my living room. We stuck it in the oven, and ten minutes later we were enjoying delicious pizza with that “just-made” taste.

Highlights:

  • Convenient and tasty! Since the pizzas are put together and packaged as you wait, you get a fresher taste than a frozen pizza without any cooling time in between cooking and delivery, offering that perfect and often unobtainable just-melted cheese taste.
  • The veggie pizza was delicious, and they have lots of other specialty pizzas.
  • If you do need to grab food on the go, a big thumbs up for the salads.
  • Giant cookie-shaped dough to bring home and cook in your oven (or take a risk and eat raw if you can’t wait) … next time!
  • HomeMade’s commitment to give back to the community by hosting “four cheese fundraisers” for schools and non-profit organizations. Yum!

And this is it!  We only have ONE more pizza party fundraiser to go before the New Play Festival, and it’s tonight! 

Join YPT at RedRocks Pizzeria in Columbia Heights for a happy hour as we celebrate the end of pizza party season and the kick-off of the New Play Festival next Monday. RedRocks is a popular neighborhood restaurant with delicious neopolitan-style pizza (European-style thin crust) and they have great happy hour specials for a perfect mid-week pick-me-up – and 30% of happy hour proceeds will go to benefit YPT.

RSVP for our Facebook event here, or just stop by tonight from 5-8pm (friends 21 and older please).  We can’t wait to see you there!

So until 5pm tonight … stay hungry!

Alison
Development and Producing Associate

Ready, set, eat!

How much pizza can one YPT staff member eat in a month?

Let’s find out!

As YPT gets ready for the 2012 New Play Festival, we are excited to be participating in several fundraising events. Four generous local pizza restaurants will be hosting fundraisers for YPT throughout April, with a portion of proceeds from each event going to support the Festival.

Now I like pizza as much as the next person, but I wouldn’t consider it one of my major food groups. However, as a dedicated YPT staff member, I have courageously volunteered myself for the task of eating pizza at all four fundraising events. After all, it’s for a good cause.

So throughout April, follow my adventures as I eat pizza from Columbia Heights, to 14th Street, to Dupont Circle, and chronicle my experiences on this blog. Who has the best pizza?  The most unusual toppings? Can we finally settle the age-old debate: regular vs. thin crust?  How many hours on the treadmill will I have to clock in May to work off all this pizza? (hah)

And if you’re feeling inspired, take on the challenge! Attend all our events and share your experiences. Snap a picture of yourself eating pizza at one of our events, share it on our Facebook page, and our fans will vote for their favorite with “likes”. The winner will receive a special prize at the New Play Festival.

So mark your calendars now and follow our giant pizza party throughout April as we celebrate the 2012 New Play Festival and raise money to support our amazing students.

The itinerary:

Tuesday, April 3, 11am-10pm: Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza
1400 Irving Street, NW (right next to the Columbia Heights metro)

On April 3, Pete’s will donate 25% of proceeds from YPT supporters for the entire day. Don’t forget to mention that you are there to support YPT!

Thursday, April 12, 5-9pm: Flippin’ Pizza
1745 Connecticut Avenue, NW (near the Dupont Circle Metro)

On April 12, Flippin’ Pizza will donate 50% of proceeds from YPT supporters from 5-9pm. Don’t forget to mention that you are there to support YPT!

Tuesday, April 17, 1-10pm: HomeMade Pizza Company
1522 14th Street, NW (a few blocks from the U Street Metro)

On April 17, HomeMade Pizza will donate a portion of all sales from pizza, salad, bread sticks and gift cards to YPT.

Wednesday, April 18, 5-8pm – RedRocks Pizzeria
1036 Park Road, NW (a few blocks from the Columbia Heights metro)

On April 18, RedRocks will donate 30% of their happy hour proceeds to YPT. This will be a fun, celebratory event and we hope to see many of you there! (Friends 21 and older, please)

The journey begins!

Alison
Development and Producing Associate

Ready…Set…Give to the Max for YPT!

I grew up in the era of computers and technology. I order pizza online, take pictures with my phone and post them on Facebook, text instead of calling, and use Google as my go-to. But despite this, I sometimes still feel hopelessly behind the times, as technology, gadgets and social media continue to explode. Confession: when posting a recent update on YPT’s Twitter, I texted my Twitter-savvy younger sister asking about the difference between #something and @something. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up.

So I’m continually impressed by how businesses, non-profits and even the government have embraced this new era, finding innovative ways to use social media to their advantage and as a tool for positive action. And that’s why I am so excited about the gigantic community fundraising event happening TODAY, November 9, 2011, through the entire Greater Washington region.

Today, thousands of area residents are banding together to show their support for their favorite nonprofits during Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington. Give to the Max Day is a huge one-day online fundraising event that will unite Maryland, Virginia and DC communities to support local nonprofits through 24 hours of charitable giving. Give to the Max Day has the potential to raise $3 million for local charities, all online, within 24 hours.  That’s the power of the Internet for you.

Give to the Max Day is a truly a testament to how organizations can harness the power of social media as a force for positive change within an entire community, showing our local non-profits that even in these tough times, we are committed to supporting them. It’s all over Twitter, Facebook, websites, blogs and even DC buses. People are getting excited and organizations are harnessing this energy and building up their armies of support.

Here at YPT we are pumped up. We love social media, and we love our fans. You guys “like” our photos (even those crazy ones of the staff in our Halloween costumes), participate in YPTrivia and read about our achievements and student stories. We know we have the best online community of supporters in the region. Can we prove it to the rest of DC?

On November 9th, every online donation and donor we get through Give to the Max Day will help thousands of YPT students discover the power and value of their voices and stories through arts education. But we can only succeed with your help. Will you help YPT go to the top?

Give to the Max Day is happening RIGHT NOW. It’s going to be huge. How can YOU help?

  • Log on to YPT’s Give to the Max Giving Page NOW to make your contribution of $10 or more to YPT. Every dollar and every donor has an impact.
  • Share your support for Give to the Max and YPT on your social media pages and follow YPT on Facebook and Twitter for updates during the event. Be our champion, recruit your friends and cheer us to the top!
  • Then, sit back and celebrate with us, and know that you played a crucial role in helping us invest in the next generation of great American innovators — and prepare our amazing students for success.

And don’t forget to come to our Express Tour Showcase on MONDAY to see your contribution in action! All GTM donors will receive a special thanks in the program, and you’ll enjoy three hilarious and insightful students plays, along with the requisite yummy treats. November 14, 7:30pm, GALA Hispanic Theatre, FREE.

Okay, YPT friends. In the words of Supergirl, “It’s go time!”  Ready, set, GIVE!

Alison
Development and Producing Associate

Kicking Off YPT’s Sixteenth Season

This past week, on a wet, chilly Monday, YPT welcomed our supporters, students, teachers and community members out of the cold and into GALA Hispanic Theatre for the kick-off of our SIXTEENTH season with New Writers Now!The Fight for Family, featuring three inspiring new student plays exploring issues and relationships within families (check out the event photos on Facebook here).  After a celebratory pre-reception featuring some amazing French mini-desserts (sampling each one was a necessity), the audience was invited into three very different families – a large, close-knit Latino family struggling with a cycle of infidelity, a son who decides to join the military against his parents’ wishes and a young girl working multiple jobs and struggling to raise her sick little brother, while trying to keep up a positive attitude.  The plays were all different, but all tied perfectly into our overarching question for the night: “What would you do for your family?”

During the post-show talkback, the playwrights were asked about the inspiration for their plays. Jessy Deleon said that he wanted to show the impact that infidelity can have on a family from the kid’s perspective; astutely noting that often books, movies and TV shows don’t focus on how infidelity affects other members of the family.  Reyna Rios said that she wanted to write a play that would make people feel uplifted after seeing it; and her play did have an almost fairy tale-like ending, where the kind and hard-working young woman who befriends an elderly woman is left enough money to pay for her brother’s medical expenses, while the spoiled and rude granddaughter is left with nothing.

I was incredibly impressed, as always, by our young playwrights. I especially admire how they took the original assignment – to write a play about anything – and chose to tackle issues that hit close to home for many people, in hopes of inspiring reflection and perhaps even change among their audiences.

I was also viewing this performance from a different light: this past summer, the YPT staff participated in a playwriting challenge where we wrote our own plays and had some of our amazing actors perform them.  It was HARD.  Even as someone who enjoys writing and has taken playwriting courses in the past, the prospect of writing a completely original play and having it read in front of others was daunting and at times incredibly stressful. The experience really hit home how brave our student playwrights are, and watching the plays on Monday night, with our staff activity fresh in my mind, I was filled with admiration. Not only did these playwrights write touching original plays and were courageous enough to share them with an entire audience (including some total strangers), they also each tackled difficult issues in hopes of really impacting their audience.

If Monday night’s performance was any indication, we have a fantastic season ahead of us! Our next performance will be the Express Tour Showcase on Monday, November 14th, at GALA Hispanic Theatre, with the possibility of an even more exciting dessert selection – although it’s going to be hard to top the mini pastries.  Looking forward to seeing you all there!

Alison
Development and Producing Associate

Meet the YPT Staff

YPT’s 2012 fiscal year began this month, and we could not be more excited to kick off another school year. We invite all of you to meet the FY12 staff and learn more about their roles with the company, and their dreams for the year!

David Snider, Producing Artistic Director and CEO

Time at YPT
: Six years.
Role in FY12: I’ll be guiding the organization’s long-term vision, growth and sustainability, and focusing on board development and company culture.
Dream for FY12: To tee up YPT for even greater growth moving forward, towards a $1M budget, in order to serve more students better and longer.
Personal FY12 Theme Song: Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow by Fleetwood Mac.


Brigitte Pribnow Moore, Deputy Director

Time at YPT:
Five years.
Role in FY12: In my new role as Deputy Director, I will be driving YPT’s fundraising and communications activities, and working with YPT’s senior staff and board on company culture, management and vision for the future. Exciting stuff.
Dream for FY12: This year, I want all of the members of our community – our students, parents, staff, artists, teachers, volunteers and supporters – to feel deeply valued and inspired. We are a company driven by amazing people, and we’ll be working hard to celebrate and honor all of you this year.
Personal FY12 Theme Song: What a Feeling by Irene Cara. That’s right. I went there.


Nicole Jost, Program Manager

Time at YPT: 
I first interned for YPT in 2006. I joined the staff in 2008.
Role in FY12: This year, I will continue to ensure that all of YPT’s programs provide an excellent experience for students. I will also lead our Young Playwrights’ Workshop student ensemble in the creation of a new original play, and grow YPT’s relationships with the communities we serve.
Dream for FY12: I hope to inspire students to pursue their dreams – whatever they may be!
Personal FY12 Theme Song: Eye of the Tiger by Survivor.


Laurie Ascoli, Program Associate

Time at YPT:
As a teaching artist, I’ve been with YPT since August 2009. I’ve been on staff since August 2010.
Role in FY12: I’m primarily dedicated to programming, so I deal with everything related to our in-school and after-school workshops. In addition to teaching my own classes, I help to create curriculum, hire other teaching artists, make sure that all of the classes are running smoothly, and prepare for performances of student work. I’m also going to be working on community engagement this year with our Student and Community Ambassadors programs and other outreach initiatives.
Dream for FY12: I hope that all of the programming work we do this year will make the students we serve feel that their thoughts and opinions matter, get them excited about writing, and help them view the arts as a safe space to be themselves and share their ideas.
Personal FY12 Theme Song: Stevie Wonder’s I Wish. It is literally impossible to hear that song and not instantly feel better about life.


Alison Beyrle, Development and Producing Associate

Time at YPT:
I have worked at YPT since August 2010.
Role in FY12:
On the development side, I’ll be writing and sending out a lot of grant proposals and researching new opportunities for YPT, in addition to maintaining our contact database and communicating with our funders and donors. On the producing side, I’m excited to take on new production duties such as scheduling, maintaining production storage and ensuring that we have everything we need for the amazing performances coming up in FY12!
Dream for FY12: I would like to help YPT grow in new ways, while keeping everything well-organized and efficient along the way.
Personal FY12 Theme Song: Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles.


Liza Harbison, Communications and Graphic Design Associate

Time at YPT:
One year.
Role in FY12: I will communicate YPT’s mission and dedication to our students through online and print communications.
Dream for FY12: My goal is to continue to learn and grow in communications and graphic design while getting to spend time with our awesome students and staff!
Personal FY12 Theme Song: In general the Fresh Prince theme song, but in relation to YPT I would say Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen.


Click here to learn more about the YPT staff. We can’t wait to celebrate the ideas and imaginations of YPT students with all of you in FY12!