Transforming communities one performance at a time: The All Stars Project Inc.’s Dream
We are all born with rich gifts (abilities), but not all of us are born with the opportunity to use them. It is easy for others to hone their gifts into their full potential. But for other kids, it is not so. The number one reason why these kids don’t do well in school and in other fields is that they can’t afford the important development that takes place outside the four corners of their classrooms.
In 2016, the poverty rate in the US was 12.7 percent, with 40.6 million people in poverty, including the young ones. Unlike their middle-class counterparts, kids who live in poverty are not exposed to many developmental activities that are offered after school simply because their parents’ priority is to buy food and pay for school fees.
Dr. Fred Newman and Dr. Lenora saw the need for poor kids to also be given a chance at life and be immersed in different activities outside academics and domestic learning to widen their reach, and, in the process, qualify them for a bigger and wider range of opportunities.
In 1981, Drs. Newman and Lenora founded the All Stars Project, a 100 percent private funded organization that aims to transform the lives of the youth in poor communities through the power of performance.
The All Stars Project, Inc. is one of the programs founded to create and conduct afterschool activities for the young generation to develop their full potential and to widen their opportunities without monetary intervention, but with a heartfelt volunteerism from different private entities.
“At All Stars, we are not involved in knowledge production. We are engaging development. We are offering development as a supplement to the education process,” says the cofounder of All Stars Project, Inc., Dr. Newman.
The All Stars Project’s mission is to “transform the lives of youth and poor communities using the developmental power of performance, in partnership with caring adults.” Through this mission, this organization envisions to “be recognized as America’s thought and action leader in Afterschool Development, a new way of engaging poverty.”
A proud advocate of racial harmony, the All Stars Project believes that every one of us, when given enough opportunity, has the capacity to live out our lives the way we want it. With its locations spread out in six cities—the national headquarters being the All Stars project NYC—the development programs encouraged tens of thousands of inner-city residents to lend a hand to transform a life. Through the continuous support of companies each year, the organization now reaches 53,799 community members.
The All Stars Project created effective activities and performances to develop the full potential of the young generation. Each project is designed to cater to the raw abilities of the beneficiaries. All Stars currently has six major award-winning projects that target the specific needs of its members. These include the following:
The All Stars Talent Show Network (ASTSN). A project that is fit for all. Everyone is encouraged to give their best to participate in auditions in various performances that will be presented in front of the audience, family, neighbors, donors, and volunteers.
The Development School for Youth (DSY). A project that involves young people ages sixteen to twenty-one years old. They are taught to perform as professionals in their chosen field. At the end of the training, they will be able to partner with business leaders and be provided paid summer internships in companies.
The Operation Conversation: Cops & Kids (Cops & Kids). A project that requires the participation of the police and the young in communities. In partnership with the New York City Police Department, the program gives a venue for developing a positive relationship between the police and teenagers in the community.
The Castillo Theatre. A project that encourages the participation of the young actors and actresses to perform in the All Stars’ off-off-Broadway political theatre for an audience from all walks of life. In a span of thirty years, the Castillo Theatre already has two hundred productions and counting.
Youth Onstage! (YO!). A project that caters to young people, ages fourteen to twenty-one years old, who are dedicated to performing onstage and are willing to be trained in the performing arts under the direction of volunteer theatre professionals. Various workshops, classes, outings, and several other activities are conducted here.
- A project that is uniquely offered to people of all ages and all educational backgrounds who desire to continue their education with a focus on personal development.
Overall, these activities promote holistic growth individually and collectively. Through the joint effort of the All Stars Projects staff, the volunteers, and the community members, there will be more and more people who will contribute to the progress of the country and of the global community.
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All Stars Project, Inc. “Who We Are.” Accessed November 2, 2017. https://allstars.org/who-we-are/.
United States Census Bureau. September 12, 2017. Income and Poverty in the United States: 2016. Accessed November 2, 2017. https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2017/demo/p60-259.html.