BENEFITING: Philadelphia Young Playwrights
As someone who gravitated towards reading, writing and storytelling at a very young age, Young Playwrights is the program I wish I had in my school growing up. While I didn't have Young Playwrights, I was fortunate to have electives offered in middle and high school such as creative writing classes to support my interests. My high school also had a literary magazine, which I was proud to be editor of my junior and senior year. Not only that, but when I was in middle and high school teachers had much more freedom in the classroom than they do now, which meant that there were always numerous opportunities to marry learning with creativity, regardless of the core subject. While I didn't have Young Playwrights growing up, my voice was cultivated and supported.
With almost thirty schools closing, almost 3500 layoffs and the School Reform Commission passing the doomsday budget (http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/local&id=9120883), enrichment programs like arts and athletics will be stripped from schools and opportunities for students to have an outlet and a voice will be stripped as well. Approximately 60% of Philadelphia Young Playwrights year-long programming serves these district schools. Now more than ever, this organization that is very near and dear to my heart and my passion needs all the support it can get so that we can keep our programming in these schools, because now more than ever the students we serve need as much support as they can get so that they realize that they are not only creative, but that they have a voice and that their voice is powerful.
Just this morning I was at a Philadelphia District School that will be closed at the end of this school year, in a packed classroom of students, teachers and parents who were watching staged readings of just some of the many talented student playwrights we had the honor of working with this year. One of these talented playwrights wrote a play called The Fight. With a title like that, one might think that the play was about issues within a family, or bullying, or some other relationship conflict. No. The Fight was about a student who was organizing his peers to try and fight to keep their school open. This brave young woman used her voice, and used theatre, to tell the story that she, her fellow students, her teachers are living RIGHT NOW. Sitting in the back of the classroom, I fought back tears. When I told our Board of Directors the same story tonight, I fought back tears again. And this is just one of many, many moments that I have been blessed to witness during my almost ten years working with the students of Philadelphia.
So what do I want for my birthday? I want the students of Philadelphia to continue to have their voices heard, and to continue to have Philadelphia Young Playwrights in their schools so that they have an outlet, so that they can discover their hidden gifts, and so that they can learn the power of starting a dialogue on a subject they are passionate about.
To have my birthday wish come true, I need your help. Two thousand dollars will keep a program alive in a Philadelphia School District classroom. Just one classroom, yes, but it's one classroom closer to ensuring that the students of Philadelphia get the opportunity that they deserve to have. If 100 people donate $20.00, or 200 people donate just $10.00, that classroom of students will have their voices cultivated and supported. Please. Let's come together and support the students that are our future.
I am so committed to this cause that I will gladly give back to those who reach deeply to give. For any donor who contributes $50.00 or more, I will send to you a complimentary all-natural product of your choice made by yours truly. For any donor who contribues $100.00 or more, I will send you a complimentary Thank You Bag with THREE all-natural products of your choice, also made by yours truly! You can find my current selection of all-natural products at: www.etsy.com/shop/TheNaturalDirection.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart and passion, for contributing to this program which helps to transform lives each and every day.