Young Storytellers Foundation

Rating: 4.98 stars   60 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Education

Location: 923 E. Third Street #307 Los Angeles CA 90013 USA

Mission: The Young Storytellers Foundation develops literacy through the art of storytelling. Using group exercises and one-on-one mentoring, we provide underserved children in the public school system an opportunity to write stories and see them brought to life through performance. Our mission is to inspire children to discover the power of their own voice.
Results: We believe every child has a story worth telling. Each child who participates in the Script to Stage program experiences a life-changing success. Each word and idea in the script is their sole creation. Each child casts his/her own story with professional actors. Each child walks down the red carpet with a VIP badge to a rousing standing ovation. Each child sees their story performed in front of families, teachers, and friends in their elementary school auditorium.
Target demographics: low-income and at-risk youth between 10 and 18 years old
Direct beneficiaries per year: more than 1000 students receive our programs
Geographic areas served: Los Angeles and New York City
Programs: Our programs develop literacy through the art of storytelling. Using group exercises and one-on-one mentoring, we provide underserved children in the public school system an opportunity to write stories and see them brought to life through live performance or film. Our mission is to inspire children to discover the power of their own voice.
2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 55-0827731
323.962.4500
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

Young Storytellers provides an excellent educational program to students that fosters both literacy and self esteem. I have volunteered for 16 years in a row now and I have no plans on stopping. Why would I? The foundation makes it so easy for volunteers like me to make an important difference and a form a unique relationship with our students.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

...like it to get to more and more schools, so we can reach more and more students.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

After graduating from college with a degree in Screenwriting, Young Storytellers seems to be the best fit for me as a way to do meaningful volunteer work. I've seen in the 12+ years I've working with this organization, the deterioration of art programs in public education. With more and more funding being cut from arts education, thank goodness that Young Storyteller is there to fill at least some of the gap. Of the roughly 250 children I've worked with over the year, 100% of them were hungry to express themselves creatively. The outlet which Young Storytellers provides is an essential one for the kids we work with. Fortunately, the declining rate of arts education funding in our schools has been paced with the growth and interest of the Young Storytellers Foundation. I've watching the organization grow from being in three schools, working with a total of 30 kids per semester, to being in 30 schools, working with 300 kids per semester. Hopefully, Young Storytellers will continue to flourish!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

helping children to develop their creative voice, build their self-esteem and foster literacy.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I have worked with several literacy charities -- love them all -- but this is by far the best, most engaging, and most fun of them all. The kids we get to work with are really touched by the program. It's amazing to watch them craft and tell their stories. Their imaginations are amazing -- they just need the tools to become writers, which YSF provides through both group activities and one-on-one mentoring.

The mentors get as much out of it as the 5th graders -- a real connection to the community, and a sense of what children in underserved populations go through day-to-day, and what their goals and aspirations are. Two of the ten children in the school at which I was placed this last semester wrote stories where the goal of the protagonist was to be able to afford to go to college (and in one story, the heroine made sure all her friends could go, too). That's both heartwarming and heart-wrenching.

I can't say enough good things about YSF. I plan to stay involved for as long as they'll have me!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Continue doing what they're doing -- expanding to more schools and other cities.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

This is the best volunteer organization in Los Angeles. It fosters the creativity of all kinds of young minds (from students who crave enrichment to those who may have attention, social, or behavioral needs who may just need a voice). By volunteering, we see a change in our young writers, and the joy they experience by writing a script and then seeing it performed in front of a crowd of family and friends by professional actors is unlike anything else. A truly wonderful program.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Give volunteers the option of a longer-term mentor program with the writers. Sometimes a 9-week session just isn't enough.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I first heard about the Young Storytellers Foundation through our company philanthropy and thought it sounded liked fun so I signed up to be a mentor. This was in 2009. I mentored for three semesters and became a Head Mentor and have been one ever since. We have had apx 150 fourth grade students go through this program and it truly is the highlight of their school year to be a Young Storyteller. Parents of first grade students are already hoping their child will be in line to be picked in 3 years. It's incredible to watch the shy students come out of the their shells and watch all of the kids as they grow in confidence and learn about story elements. My mentors say it is the best part of their week, to come in and work one on one with these brilliant, creative, fun and funny kids. The Big Show is a marvelous time and a huge deal to the students, their families and mentors and the school as they watch their stories acted out by professional actors on stage. It's a one of kind program, and one I wish I had been able to do when I was a kid. It changes these kids and their perception of themselves as being able to accomplish anything in their lives because they have experienced being a star.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The teachers wish there was way that every student could be a Young Storyteller!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I started volunteering as a mentor for Young Storytellers in the spring of 2009 and had a blast. I loved my mentee, loved the program, loved seeing the joy and pride on the kids' faces when their scripts were acted out on stage by professional actors at the Big Show. I mentored for 3 semesters and then became a Head Mentor which I still am today. It's the highlight of my work week to go to the school and get to spend an hour with the mentors and the kids who are so excited and happy to be there that they can barely contain their enthusiam. It's one of the best programs ever created to promote literacy and self-esteem for grade school kids. I wish it had been around when I was 9 or 10 years old so I could have been a young storyteller myself. One of our writers in our session the other day told me he would remember this [YSF] and me for the rest of his life. There's no greater satisfaction than knowing you're making a positive impact on a kid's life.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

It is amazing to see the students over the course of eight weeks transform and come together to experience the art of storytelling. Even the most shy or uninteresting kids become engaged. It is also a treat for the mentors and I look forward to my YSF session every week - my favorite power lunch!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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Role: Volunteer
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I am proud to be part of the YSF family. This organization teaches literacy through the art of storytelling, but the kids (and mentors!) learn far more than that. The transformation of these children in the 8 weeks they are a part of this program is impossible to quantify- but as a mentor, you can't help but notice the drastic positive changes in these children. I have seen children who hid in the corner for the first four weeks do stand up routines at the wrap party. I have seen children who couldn't sit still for 30 seconds sit and for an entire hour focused on finding a creative solution to a problem in their story. It is life altering for the children and adults who participate. You will not meet a single person who has been a mentee, mentor, actor or audience member at a Big Show who has not been insprired to do more.


In addition to that, the Young Storytellers Foundation as an organization is outstanding. I am constantly in awe of the amount of things that their small staff is able to accomplish on a day to day basis. While focusing on big picture ideas, the small stuff never falls through the cracks. They are truly top notch!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I cannot say enough about what a wonderful program Young Storytellers is. There is no set reason a child is picked to be in the program so you have a tremendously diverse group of children. Some are excellent writers, others are perhaps the class clowns, some need a little extra one on one time- all are amazing! My mentee this past year was a brilliant writer, but extremely shy. You couldn't have gotten him to speak up in front of the group no matter how hard you tried. A few weeks in to the program, after getting a ton of praise for his written work, he would waive his hand in the air almost begging to read his story aloud to the group. It was amazing to see a change in such a short amount of time. As a mentor, I can tell you that my time at Young Storytellers is my best hour all week. To be surrounded by these intelligent, silly and fearless children is an experience of a lifetime. I was amazed how easy it was to get out of my comfort zone in order to inspire these children to do the same. And the pride on their faces at the Big Show while watching actors perform their work in front of their fellow students will forever remain engraved in your mind and heart.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-3-01

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

It's an honor to be a part of something like YSF. Seeing these kids come out of their shells is the highlight of my week.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Youngstory Tellers is a great organization, youngstory teachs the children so much more than just literacy and the art of story telling it's such an awesome experience for both the students and volunteers

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

The Young Storytellers Foundation is a wonderful and inspiring organization that helps to encourage kids to be themselves! All the while teaching them to unitize the fundamentals of writing, acting, and to think outside the box. As a mentor I was able to really see the kids progress and become confident and empowered by their own scripts. It gives them a sense of pride and it enables them to really open up. As a volunteer and mentor I couldn't have been more proud of my group, and my student. This was a remarkable experience for me, and truly rewarding. The kids have so much heart and so much to give and with programs like these it allows them to use their imaginations and really dig deep. In a generation with so much going on and life moving so fast its crucial for groups like the Young Storytellers Foundation be accessible to kids everywhere.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Reach out to more schools!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

There are so many wonderful aspects that it's not easy to articulate just how amazing of an organization YSF is but I'm going to try anyways. As a Head Mentor/Mentor/Volunteer Big Show Performer over the last 3 years, I've been able to see first hand the impact of this organization's work on children. Giving students the ability to use their imagination in a supportive, positive environment enables these students to create brilliant stories they might not have ever been able to write. The volunteers that work for YSF are fantastic and are alike in the tremendous enthusiasm they bring to their work with the young writers. YSF gives an outlet to those all students to express their creativity especially the shy, reserved ones.

My favorite story from YSF is that we had a young girl in our session that was painfully quiet and reluctant to share throughout the first 7 weeks. We did everything we could to try to encourage her and create a safe environment for her to share. The 8th meeting came and she had a chance to see her story performed on stage by professional actors and her face absolutely lit up. The final wrap-up meeting we couldn't stop her from talking! Unprompted, she shared one thing that she liked about every one of her peers' stories and even thanked the YSF mentors for their hard work over the semester. It was a total transformation and an absolute joy to witness.

The staff that runs YSF is fantastic, easy to talk to, and goes out of the way to ensure that you are set up for success as a volunteer. Get involved with this organization - you won't regret it!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

find a way to get YSF in more schools!!!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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