Sponsored: Portland, OR. PlayWrite is a theatre-based program that builds resilience, creativity and success. Nearly a thousand young people have benefited from the program. During one of the groundbreaking workshops, eight students form an attuned working alliance with eight coaches, engaging in exercises involving movement, sound, scent and memory. Students create a play with unique non-human characters from the authentic emotions of their own life experiences, directing professional actors on the final day. The nonprofit is working hard during its year-end fundraising campaign so it can work with more students, CLICK HERE to learn more. 

High school junior JT explains how PlayWrite has changed his life, “PlayWrite is my favorite program. The workshop provided me with a blank canvas; a chance to step back, to not take myself so seriously, and to be goofy and creative. I think every kid deserves that opportunity.”

Here’s a video to get a feel for what  PlayWrite is all about.

PlayWrite coaches are deep listeners. They ask questions, and wait for answers. As long as it takes. PlayWrite coaches never offer suggestions for words or themes or ways of phrasing ideas.

Creating meaningful characters demands that the writer fully inhabit each character. Placing those characters into true emotional conflict builds awareness and empathy.

PlayWrite creates a safe space for participants to explore themselves in a new way – to build a story that’s never been written before.

Nothing matches the power of face-to-face engagement.

Executive Director, Bruce Livingston, explains how the story of high school student, JT is one of many success stories from the program.

From PlayWrite:

PlayWrite is a safe space in which teens grow—a place to explore and express themselves through creativity—is scarce for many of the youth we meet. More than 75% of PlayWrite participants have been exposed to childhood trauma, abuse, or neglect, and face barriers to success. Our workshop offers a place for “youth at the edge” to process their difficult experiences through creative expression.

Over the course of a 10-day PlayWrite workshop, young writers receive over 27 hours of one-on-one interaction with a highly trained coach. Coaches guide them through exercises involving movement, sound, scent, and memory. In this profound, attuned working relationship, youth are challenged and supported every step of the way. With their coach providing trust and acceptance, they tap into their emotions and creativity. And at the end of the process, they direct professional actors in the world premiere of their unique theatrical works.

For JT, the PlayWrite experience allowed him to find his “true self.” After working with his coach for two weeks, and then seeing his characters come to life onstage, his interactions with others changed:

“I understand the people I encounter a little bit better because I now know we all have unique strengths and weaknesses.”

Empathy, vulnerability, and a freeing sense of play: these are just a few of the skills JT developed through PlayWrite that will serve him in years to come.

Every kid deserves the opportunity to step back. To not take themselves so seriously, and to be goofy and creative. To find their true self.

We’re asking you to help us give more youth a chance. The PlayWrite workshop costs $1,200 per student, which allows us to provide each student like JT the one-on-one coaching they deserve. Will you help us provide this transformative opportunity to as many youth as possible in 2018?

JT’s play is about a young flower who wants to cross a river to find his family, and an old bear who wants to keep his friend safe. It’s about accepting others as they are. And it’s about facing fears. As JT explains:

“The last line of my play is “The rapids never stop.” By that I mean that the struggles in life are never going to stop. But we’ll overcome our challenges; we’ll ride the rapids just like my characters did in my play.”

In the PlayWrite workshop, youth at the edge learn to dive headlong into the rapids, emerging with a work of art that is uniquely their own.

The rapids never stop. We can’t eliminate barriers and obstacles, but with your support, we can give youth at the edge the tools they need to navigate the waters of life. The nonprofit is working hard during its year-end fundraising campaign to help more students, CLICK HERE to learn more.