The Possibility Project involves 140 teenagers, ages 13 to 19, each year. They come from each of the five boroughs of NYC, and represent a vastly diverse range of cultures, sexualities, experiences, lifestyles and backgrounds.
Participants are selected through non-competitive “auditions.” Criteria for participant selection include need for the program, availability, willingness to collaborate with a diverse group of young people, and concern for the various issues facing young people today. No one is chosen on the basis of talent or ability.
THALIA BAEZ – Saturday Cast, 2012-present
“When I think of what my life was like before I discovered TPP, it’s a harsh realization to comprehend there was a point in my life where I believed I had no purpose, no reason to fight for a brighter future. I auditioned to TPP because I was desperate for change. I was desperate to feel useful in any way possible. And that’s exactly what TPP did for me – TPP became ‘An open door to endless opportunities.’
My first year in the program, I was a timid person that kept to herself. I was extremely horrified at speaking in a large group. I had a lot to share but I had never been given a voice outside of TPP so it was intimidating and terrifying to step out of my shell. Within the first few weeks of the program I re-experienced a rollercoaster of emotions I had suppressed for several years. The activities we participated in made us closer as people and aware that for the next 9 months it was going to be our responsibility to have each other’s backs, to step up and tackle all the issues being talked about, so that we could create safer communities for ourselves and the upcoming generations.
That’s when it all clicked, for the first time in my life I felt significant, I felt as though I had a support system that was willing to encourage me to achieve great things.
Building an Original Musical Theatre Production was extremely intense, for the simple fact that all the stories being told were true to us, and possibly were going to be true for many people in the audience. Being on a stage, speaking of these issues made me realize how passionate I was towards creating change, and how bad I wanted to help others and myself. I felt powerful, because I had people counting on me and it was up to me to help create change, I felt powerful for taking initiative. The idea of creating change made me feel useful, and helped me become fully aware that my life was valuable, most importantly that I had a purpose and that my voice mattered.
I owe a lot of my growth to some of the adults of the program that I had the amazing opportunity to engage with on a working level and on a more personal level including Jeff Flowers, Meagan Baca, Paul Griffin, and Kelly Claus. These people were perhaps the first to believe in me and express how grateful they were to have me around, encouraging me week after week to take risks. Taking risks such as becoming a Production Team member, taking the role of a leader my second year would’ve seemed unachievable and way out of my comfort zone if it wasn’t for these adults constantly expressing appreciation, reinforcing how much they trusted and believed in me. These adults became role models for me.
I’ve learned endless lessons about life here. I learned how to critically listen, how to be optimistic, how to challenge ideas, how to lead, but most importantly how to be an activist. Being committed to TPP for three years now has changed my life tremendously. I am beyond grateful to this program, and I can’t imagine what my life would’ve been like without having this experience.
After my Journey with TPP comes to an end this year, I’m excited to tackle life and continue to help create change wherever I go. I will continue to be an activist, and hopefully inspire others to dream higher and most importantly to feel significant. Because of TPP, I have a dream of being a person who’s going to be remembered for creating positive change , for being passionate and inspirational.”