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2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Handful Players

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Theater, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Handful Players is a free after-school and summer children’s musical theater program committed to help inner-city youth develop critical life skills, improve their self-esteem, and find their creative voices through theater performance.

Geographic areas served: San Francisco, CA; especially children from the Western Addition

Programs: Statement of program service accomplishmentsprogram service: musical theater programhandful players received $ 58,950 of donated professional services and $47,949of use of facilities to conduct its program in addition to the cash contributions and donated goods. 1. Conduct student workshops. Handful players conducted a total of 682 hours of free musical theater workshops providing inner city youth the opportunity to express themselves creatively and interact positively with other youth and adults. Each workshop was led by professional teaching artists who instructed the children on improvisation, acting, singing, poetry and spoken word, dance, clowning, and puppetry. The children actively participated hands-on in the theater process, collaborating with the playwrights to craft the plays, making choices about the movement and expression of their characters in the plays, and designing costumes and sets. They also had the opportunity to interact collaboratively with parents and adult volunteers on varied activities involved in the theater production. Handful players provided the musical theater program in a residency at one san francisco public schools for one 2nd grade, three 3rd grade classes and in after-school and summer programs for 13 san francisco western addition youth organizations with children from over 20 public and charter schools in san francisco. 2. Reach out to underserved youth: handful players worked with a total of 639 children ages 5 -17; most are underserved children in san franciscos western addition who are african-american or latino, living in public housing, and have only one parent living at home with no more than a high school-level education. They live in a distressed community still riddled by gangs and violence. The youth therefore lack traditional mentorship and have little exposure to cultural events and theater. 3. Commission original plays. Handful players commissions original plays by talented playwrights so that children can be involved in the creation of a play inspired by their community's cultural heritage. During january 2014-may 2014, handful players commissioned the acclaimed poet/playwright, chinaka hodge, to write the play jumping jaq fresh, a play with jazz music addressing the achievement gap between different groups, inequities in opportunities, and collaborative efforts to level the playing field and overcome low expectations. The plays themes reflect the learning objectives set by the principal at john muir elementary school (where the children from the western addition beacon center attend. Handful players also commissioned chinaka hodge to write 4 short plays based on the curriculum for the 2nd and 3rd grades at spring valley science elementary school, including their spanish and chinese speaking classes. The plays were based on books selected by the teachers, with lessons that included: consequences of bullying, benefits of patience, accepting cultural differences, and the adventures of science exploration. During june 2014 august 2014, handful players commissioned the talented chinaka hodge to write 6 short plays based on the summer reading list of the momagic collaborative of western addition youth programs. The plays, which included song and dance, were based on travel, exploration, and self-discovery themes in the selected books, including amazing grace, tar beach, flat stanley: japanese ninja surprise, shades of black, and city by the bay. 4. Perform at community events. The workshops culminated in community performances by the students accompanied by professional jazz musicians. Each performance brings together a diverse san francisco audience numbering from 75 to 350. Following our may performance at the african american cultural center, we hosted a free reception to help strengthen community bonds. During the year, handful players performed our original plays by chinaka hodge and some choreographed dance pieces at the following 19 western addition community and school events: *black history celebration at booker t washington community center, february, 2014*western addition celebration black history (booker t and rec-connect youth performed) at kabuki hotel, february, 2014 *season finale- dance , new traditions after- school program, april 2014*season finale performance at spring valley science school (4 classes), april 2014*season finale performance at excel at dr. William cobb after- school program (2 classes), may 2014*season finale performance at margaret hayward rec-connect, may 2014*season finale performance, excel after school rosa parks school, may 2014*season finale full performance at african-american art and culture complex, may 2014*season finale performance, booker t washington community center, may, 2014*summer youth showcase, western addition beacon center (4 theater and dance classes), july, 2014*summer youth showcase, up on top at the tenderloin community center july, 2014*san francisco summer youth showcase (performances by 9 youth groups working with handful players) at jewish community center theater, july 2014*summer youth showcase, african american art and culture complex, august 2014*summer youth showcase, booker t. Washington community center, august 2014*thanksgiving celebration, western addition beacon center, november 2014*season final performance, magiczone at ella hill hutch community center, dec 2014*season finale and holiday performance, new traditions after- school program, dec 2014*season finale and holiday performance, margaret hayward rec-connect, dec 2014*holiday youth show, western addition beacon center, december 20145. Sponsor cultural enrichment activities: handful players also inspires and motivates the children by taking them to professional productions and exposing them to cultural resources that would be inaccessible otherwise. We attended:* christmas carol at a. C. T. , december, 2014* cinderella performed by the african american shakespeare company at the buriel clay theater december, 2014

Community Stories

21 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Former staff

Rating: 5

I think the Handful players is the greatest organization because it gets the children interested in theater who might not otherwise get involved in theater. The handful beats a hand unfull.