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Young Storytellers

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Adult & Child Matching Programs, Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Children & Youth, Education, Educational Services, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Young Storytellers engages creativity through the art of storytelling. Using the timeless techniques of mentoring, collaboration, and performance we provide public school students with an opportunity to write stories and see them brought to life on stage or on film. Our mission is to inspire young people to discover the power of their own voice.

Results: Our mission is simple: we inspire young people to discover the power of their voice. Using one-on-one mentorship, low-income students learn how to write original stories and see them brought to life on stage and film. Thanks to thousands of volunteer mentors, actors, and professional teaching artists, we serve more than 50 public schools in Los Angeles and New York City, serving 1,000 students in elementary, middle, and high school each year. As a result, young people learn that their voice matters.

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.

Community Stories

87 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Hannah J.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young storytellers has helped thousands of children tell their own stories. They are helping kids with reading and writing while brining their creative visions to life. Watching the stories be performed at the end of the semester is always so magical. The happiness and pride beams out of each child.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

Such a great organization helping kids express themselves while improving reading and writing skills

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is the best experience anybody can possibly have! The process of watching a young child find theirvoice and tell their story through stage is the most rewarding thing ever. I'm so glad a friend introduced me to this program! Pictured with spring 2017 Linwood Howe Storytellers and fellow Mentor Meredith Thomas

inwardeleven

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve mentored with Young Storytellers for almost 20 years because it is a fun and easy way to make a measurable positive impact on the life of children. In 10 weeks, the program fosters literacy and self esteem that will last a child a lifetime.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

2016 marks my 18th year volunteering with Young Storytellers. The reason I am so committed to this organization is because of the undeniable positive effects it has on the children. Year after year, semester after semester, I have personally bore witness to the maturation of kids achieved in just a 10-week period. They learn to focus their creativity, share their personal stories, and unleash their boundless imagination. Every time we finish a Big Show - the culminating event where the children's screenplays are brought to life on stage - I've come to rely on (but not take for granted) the gratitude, joy, and sheer amazement expressed by the kids' peers, teachers and families - all of whom have just been so completely blown away by the wholly original and entirely entertaining creative achievements birthed from the minds of our students.

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Lori167

Donor

Rating: 5

This is such a quality organization. Feeding the fuel of young imaginations. Allowing their natural curiosity to explore and create for our benefit. Well done, Bill Thompson

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Donor

Rating: 5

Though I'm not part of the LA community, it warms my heart to see an organization that encourages, mentors and brings to life the incredible imagination of children. Well done!

Eli J.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wonderful, woderful, wonderful organization. Thank YOU!!!

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a long-time donor with Young Storytellers and feel confident that I see exactly where my dollars are being used. The program has an incredible reach with a relatively small budget and staff. It's a model other non-profits should use!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Happy to have been a mentor, would like to know more about use of funding.

Hunter C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Fantastic organization that makes a positive difference in the lives of the students they work with.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered with Young Storytellers in their 5th grade, middle school, and high school programs. They're all incredibly rewarding, and easy to volunteer! (Most programs are just an hour a week on your lunch break.) Plus, they make everything really fun. You basically show up, play some games with the kids, and then help them bring their own stories to life. Validating kids who are continually undervalued, and watching them blossom over the course of just a few weeks is one of the most rewarding ways to volunteer your time. SIGN UP!!

Devon Michael J.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with Young Storytellers on and off for over 15 years as a mentor and as an actor in their Big Shows. It is a privilege to be a part of an organization that gives children a creative space to develop their imagination and writing skills while helping to strengthen their self esteem at an early age.

Kimberly H.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Amazing organization that has a staff that is out of this world!

Donor

Rating: 5

YS does an outstanding job in bringing an arts programs to students who would otherwise never have the opportunity to explore their potential creativity. They support the program with tremendous fundraising efforts and an army of volunteers. All donations are wisely used.

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Donor

Rating: 5

As a former elementary administrator in a District served by Young Storytellers, I applaud their program. They provide an invaluable arts access to students who otherwise would never have the opportunity explore their talent. YS is able to support its work through donations and the dedication of hundreds of volunteers.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I mentored with the Young Storytellers P.O.V. program for the last year. This program not only inspires youth to tell their personal stories, but encourages them to collaborate and communicate. This curriculum also teaches them the entirety of the filmmaking process from preproduction to writing to cinematography and editing. Students play, create, learn, and reflect in every class. The program also works hard to bring in guest mentors from the industry to provide students with a master perspective of the world of filmmaking and storytelling.

I hope to see this program expand across the country in the near future. Every child has a story to tell and Young Storytellers is here to listen.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Young Storytellers for several years. As a donor, I have attended events and spoken with staff, board members, volunteers and student participants. And I have always been BEYOND impressed! These people are INCREDIBLE!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Storytellers creates a safe, creative environment for young writers who would otherwise not have an opportunity to share their stories, and the program's impact on those students is immediately apparent. Not only do the writers grow from their experiences, the volunteers grow, as well.

My time as a Head Mentor has been one of the most rewarding experiences I've had. I cannot recommend the program highly enough, both for students and volunteers.

- Nick Lazo, Head Mentor

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering for Young Storytellers has been an amazing part of my life! Mentoring the children that are a part of this program has been rewarding, challenging, and above all fun! This organization is an essential part of the schools it's in because it breathes a breath of fresh air into the arts education of the children it touches.

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

YSF is an amazing experience for all involved. As a mentor, spending time working with the students and being a part of their processes in developing their scripts is so much fun! The best part of the program is seeing the kids' faces light up when the script they have written in the matter of weeks is brought to life by professional actors.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have loved volunteering for this organization! It is great that they help children use their imaginations and see it come to life either on stage or film. I hope to work with for many years to come!

Sarah299

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Storytellers is more than just stories and fun plays. It's a hands on, one-on-one approach to unlocking a student's potential, capabilities and power. It's an organization where you don't sit idly by and watch things happen from afar. As a volunteer, you're in the thick of it and really transforming the life of a young student right in front of you. Not to mention, you transform your own life in the process. I've worked with Young Storytellers for over 8 years and it never ceases to amaze me the joy I get from the process as much as the students get. Can't recommend it highly enough.

Tyler16

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with Young Storytellers for about four years now and am supremely thankful for the introduction. The organization itself is so incredibly well put together and run that being a head mentor is probably one of the easiest forms of volunteering one can do. That being said, the work I put in as a teacher to 9, 10 and 11 year olds is some of the most rewarding you could ever find. My years with YST has reinforced my own knowledge of the story telling process as well as my passion for passing it along to the younger generation. To work towards a goal after a number of weeks with children and then watch their faces and reactions when their goal is met by actors playing out their stories on stage is one of the coolest things I've ever been able to do. I think it's one of the greatest groups and programs in LA and I look forward to being affiliated for many, many years to come. Thank you Bill, Pierre, Pilar, Russell and all the rest of the team!

1 Erin Y.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been with Young Storytellers for well over a decade now and there's a good reason why it's captured my heart completely. Through the years I've had the pleasure of meeting young, shy and often apprehensive children who've struggled with self- confidence who, through this program, have completely blossomed into strong and independently creative thinkers. The expansion of the programs has allowed me to continue to witness the further growth of these children and the results are nothing short of life-changing. Regardless of your knowledge of the "industry", Young Storytellers inspires not only young minds but even the adults who mentor them to gain a new creative outlet and a positive sense of self that they may have otherwise not experienced. I am so very proud to be a part of this incredible organization and look forward to continuing in the years to come!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Having the opportunity to witness the impact this program has in a child's life is an invaluable gift. In my 8+ years I've been honored to be a part of Young Storytellers, I've seen countless numbers of children grow out of their shells and despite the adversities they may be facing, blossom into confident and happy children again. The role Young Storytellers and the mentors play will never be forgotten - by the children or the mentors. It creates a cycle of positivity and support for children who may be lacking in some form or another and the results last a lifetime. I am an avid fan of YSF and continue to support their dedication to enriching the lives of young children and exposing them to creative outlets that they may not have known were available. All children have a story to tell and deserve to be heard - YSF allows a child's story not only come to life, but inspires them to continue exercising their creative spirit long after their semester has finished.

Troy6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The opportunity to be a small part of what YS is doing, and seeing the joy the students experience watching their imaginations come to life was nothing short of life-giving for me. I am very grateful to have been asked to be a part of the Carthay Big Show, and thus am most certainly looking forward to doing more in the future

Shaun7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Was such a great time participating in one of the shows, seeing the kids faces as their stories came alive was amazing!

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Young Storytellers for a few years, as a donor. I have attended many events and have had a chance to meet and interact with the staff, the volunteers, and the students involved in their programs. I have been so impressed with the work they do and all the ways the organization continues to grow and develop.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Young Storytellers for about a year, as a donor. I learned about them through social media; and I follow all their activities via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I have also attended five of their shows, seeing first-hand how the students' stories are brought to life. Nothing brings me more joy than to watch the wonderful reactions of the kids when their scripts are performed live, on-stage by professional actors. And I have heard from parents, grandparents, and teachers as they voice their delight at seeing the creative talents of these children nurtured and developed -- often for the first time. I have also loved speaking with the incredible staff and generous volunteers of this organization. I am beyond impressed with their dedication, graciousness, and flawless professionalism. I was a teacher before I had my own family, and I have to say that the work YSF does to enhance and promote the arts and literacy amongst our youth is second-to-none. Absolutely second-to-none.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It is great to help young children get acquainted with the art of storytelling. I admire the worth this foundation is doing and encourage people to help them out all them can.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A FANTASTIC organization to be a part of, the kids grow a LOT and have an amazing time. It really does make an impact...but not only on the kids...I've seen grownups cry when the session ends, hehe...I've seen kids cry too :(

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I love witnessing the talent supported and developed by this organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Young Storytellers Foundation is, hands down, my favorite organization that I get to support as an artist (I both mentor and perform for them). The work we do with kids is so unique and so uplifting and empowering; I've seen child after child transform. Children really find their voices through the program -- many experiencing creative expression and public recognition for the very first time. I love everything about YSF, and I intend to be a lifelong supporter of this beautiful organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for Young Storytellers Foundation as a mentor and as an actor and it was one of the most rewarding and fun times I've ever had. The pride we see in the kids when their script comes to life is indescribable and the parents are so proud and grateful that I'm touched every time I volunteer. As an actor bringing the kids' scripts to life is so fun too. The laughter you hear from the kids and their classmates as their watching is so great and really makes your day. I love you guys at Young Storytellers Foundation and definitely will keep volunteering!

Annie45

Volunteer

Rating: 5

fantastic group! i volunteered as a mentor last year and had a wonderful time getting to know these brilliant kids and watching their creative minds flourish.

Lesley G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with YSF last fall in its first San Francisco program at Daniel Webster Elementary. The training and leadership provided by YSF and our lead mentor, Michael Karsh, were so helpful — I knew nothing about writing screenplays, but they guided me through the entire process with understanding and care so I could be a great mentor to our kids. And the kids . . . they were simply amazing. It was so unbelievable to see these kids who were so quiet and shy — or distracted or bored — become engaged and excited about writing and telling stories.

YSF is simply an amazing organization. Highly recommended.

Brian47

Volunteer

Rating: 5

"Some are volunteers. Some are volun-told."

YSF really speaks to the creativity in one's soul and compels them to keep coming back.

I've been involved with this program for the past 6 years and the impact it has on not just the students but the mentors can be life-changing.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Storytellers is nothing if not addicting. The impact on our students is one thing, but the experience is beyond rewarding for those of us who volunteer. For the head mentors who teach the class, the mentors who guide the kids one-on-one and the actors who perform in the BIG Shows have all found it hard not to get sucked in and need more. We get to play once a week, and when our schools aren't in session, we miss it terribly.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Quite honestly, one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences I've ever been a part of. I was lucky enough to get involved with YSF in 2001, and am thrilled with how it's grown over the years while still staying true to its core and mission. As both a mentor and head mentor, I witnessed time and time again how this simple idea -- how this kind of attention, feedback and encouragement -- affected and transformed the lives of students involved. I've watched kids discover a voice and a focus that surprised even them; I've been hugged by grateful and tearful parents; I've been thanked by teachers who say they see the positive effects throughout the classroom. (All this from something so incredibly fun as well -- can't tell you how many mentors I've heard describe this time as the "best hour of my week.") Bottom line, an incredible organization that supports the arts in schools, builds community, and inspires children in a very real and lasting way. Amazing.

Chad11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've had the honor of working with this program as both a mentor and an actor. No matter how many shows I do, I'm still always floored by the creativity of these great kids – and the joy they get from seeing their work performed onstage. It's almost criminal to call volunteering because I feel like we get so much out of it.

1 Phil A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Art transforms people! YSF is at the vanguard of helping to create empathetic members of society by valuing our children's creativity and words. I have been incredibly fortunate to be an actor in the YSF's Big Shows for the past several years at a few different schools. It is so easy to see the transformation that comes over the students whose work is being read/performed by the cast and to also hear in their own words the positive effect of having worked with their mentors. Hooray for YSF!!!

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a fantastic opportunity for creative children to experience their words coming to life on stage in front of their very eyes! The love and care given to every aspect of this organizations purpose is truly wonderful and certainly makes a difference in the lives of the kids who participate and watch the performances. As an professional actor who has had the pleasure of performing in several BIG SHOWS, I know that the gifts I receive are immeasurable, as well! Thanks YSF!!!

Rob_29

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was honored to act in a few of these incredible shows and the pride in the faces of those kids make it all worth it. Their imaginations are incredible and their story telling is unmatched. Dont deny these kids the opportunity to express themselves through story telling.