Community Action Projects
The Possibility Project does not believe that change should only happen at home, but strongly encourages the cast to take what they have learned outside to their communities and to be instrumental in creating community change.
Twice a year in each program, participants design and execute community action projects in their communities. These dynamic projects bring awareness to the concerns which are most pressing to our young people.
Cast members assign themselves to several teams each of which is focused on a specific issue. They then design a “challenge” focused on raising awareness or practicing advocacy on that issue. Teams have 3 to 4 weeks to research, design, and implement their project. The only constraints are that the project must be interactive, and must be doable in one day.
Child Abuse: Group members collected items with which young people are hit or beaten, and created a public art display in midtown and then Harlem, an area of the NYC with very high occurrences of child abuse. Youth spoke with observers about the effects of abuse and took a survey of attitudes on what constitutes abuse.
Domestic Violence: The Domestic Violence team was challenged to take a silent train ride to raise awareness about different kinds of abuse (emotional, verbal, sexual, financial). Team members rode the Q train through Manhattan wearing signs describing abuse and giving resources for victims. While in each train car, one participant read a poem she’d written about abuse.
Global Sex Trade: The Global Sex Trade team set up in Bryant Park, where they tied up one of their members to symbolize an imprisoned young person. Team members announced statistics about the global sex trade to passersby, asking for donations to give to an organization that works toward the release and rehabilitation of women and children who are victims of this system.
Foster Care: The Foster Care team was challenged to create a public art piece using baby dolls and teddy bears to represent various statistics about youth and adults who have lived in New York City’s foster care system. The group collected 100 stuffed animals, x’d out their faces with black tape, and taped statistics to their chests. They positioned them all around the statue in Columbus Circle and handed out pamphlets to people as they walked through, with the purpose of raising awareness around the challenges that face young people who are “x’d out” of society because of their situation.
LGBTQ Suicide: Group members created a miniature cemetery with the names of actual LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning) teenagers who’d committed suicide on each headstone, and held a candle-light memorial in their honor. The youth engaged in one-on-one conversations with observers, and distributed fliers to passersby to raise awareness about the prevalence of suicide among teenagers who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or questioning.
Sexual Abuse: The Sexual Abuse team set up in Herald Square, where they each wore a white shirt and asked people to write one thought about sexual abuse or the name of a person they knew who was a victim on a colorful paper hand. They then pinned those hands to their shirts. Each person who participated received a pamphlet created by the group that gave statistics about sexual abuse as well as hotlines and support groups.
Teen Pregnancy: The Teen Pregnancy team set out to raise awareness about the rise in teen pregnancy in the last two years and ways in which people can prevent pregnancy. They researched and created a pamphlet that had information about what happens to teen mothers and their babies statistically. They went to Union Square and passed out their pamphlets along with goodie bags full of condoms and instructions on how to use them.
Violence Against LGBTQ Youth: The LGBTQ team was challenged to test the attitudes toward Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Questioning youth within their high schools. They displayed posters in their schools with information about Harvey Milk (the country’s first openly gay politician), and monitored the graffiti that collected on the posters over a week’s time. Team members were surprised to find that while they found a few negative comments, most were overwhelmingly supportive of LGBTQ citizens and their rights, giving the cast hope for future attitudes toward this currently oppressed population.
The Cycle of Abuse: Group members developed a “Wheel of Abuse” game to demonstrate the cyclical nature of child abuse. Participants (gathered from passersby in Union Square) spun the wheel to learn about how abusive childrearing is passed down from generation to generation, as well as the effects of this abuse in many areas of a person’s life throughout adolescence and into adulthood. The group encouraged participants to stop the cycle of abuse in their own families.
Beauty in the Media: Group members set up a display of several mirrors in a public park to raise awareness about the prevalence of poor body image and eating disorders in America. Statistics and facts were written on the mirrors in lipstick, and observers were encouraged to say positive things about themselves into one of the mirrors. Expressing affirmations aloud was a difficult but positive experience for many people.
View photos of these and other projects by visiting the image gallery.