The Possibility Project’s program has been developed over 16 years through a constant, open dialogue with our teenagers. The distinct program features identified here have grown out of these discussions. They have been tried out by our youth and artists and retained because they work.
This approach to program development has proven to be effective, as evidenced by our results over the years. And, because our program is continuously assessed by our youth and adults, we expect that more innovative program features will be developed in the future.
While each of these features is distinct, it is the dynamic combination of these ideas working in consort with our creative process and our talented leadership that has produced our substantial impact.
Our Empowerment Approach
We believe that reducing the risks young people face and building the assets they need to be safe, peaceful and productive in the future are absolutely essential. Our approach to achieve these goals, however, is distinct. The Possibility Project empowers youth themselves to reduce the risks in their lives and build the assets they need. Through our creative process, our teenagers learn to take responsibility for, as well as act on, the changes they need to make, developing a sense of agency and becoming agents for change in their lives and in their families and communities.
Safe Teenagers, not just Safe Space
The Possibility Project works not only to create a safe place for youth to grow and learn, but also create safe youth by giving them the skills and experiences that foster their development “outside the program.” This is one of the lasting net effects of our empowerment approach.
Possibility Project teenagers are given decision-making power – writing their scripts, performing shows, designing and executing community action projects, participating on the Production Teams, leading program activities – and gain the value of practicing real-life leadership. Their decisions are respected and their perspectives valued in every aspect of our program. Read more…
No One is Chosen on the Basis of Talent
Most performing arts programs look for talent. We don’t because our goal is not to create stars. Our goal is to empower our youth to create a better world – and every youth deserves the chance to do that, regardless of their artistic talent.
The majority of the young people in our programs have never been on stage before.
Diversity is a Strategy
In The Possibility Project, diversity is not just a goal and a value, but also a strategy. We have made it a strategic priority for many reasons…
One, in order to solve our most pressing social problems, we will need leaders who can understand the inter-relationship of communities and the issues they need to address. Two, the best way for any teenager to learn is from other teenagers and the best way for any teenager to learn about alternative choices or ways of living is to be around teenagers who come from different backgrounds. Three, for anyone to succeed in a global environment for the future, they must learn to build relationships with people from backgrounds different from their own. Four, we cannot have peace or justice or freedom until every community is involved and gains the benefits of those ideals.
The Performing Arts as Vehicle
The performing arts provide a low-risk, metaphorical means for youth to examine and construct new ideas, new identities and new relationships. When this type of creativity occurs in a diverse environment aimed at community action, the impact on their positive development is even greater. Read more…
At The Possibility Project we have learned that the central question for teenagers is not one of identity (who am I?), but rather of identity “in the world” (who will I be when I am “out there” in the adult world?). Our teenagers know who they are – what they most often do not know, and are conflicted by, is who they are becoming and will become.
Looking out at the world, asking this question, and seeing injustice, corruption, poverty and other negative forces, young people can become confused, frustrated or downright cynical about the future and their place in it. By engaging in community action, Possibility Project youth learn that they can make an impact on the world around them and work to change the injustices they see, that growing up and into the person they want to be is possible, and that the transition to young adulthood can be positive and productive, not only for themselves but for the world around them because of them. Read more…
Program Duration and Depth
Youth participants average 300 hours per year in a Possibility Project. Production Team members average an additional 250 hours. Our program is long-term, intense and demanding because teenagers need time and space to grow and create change, as well as to learn how to lead.
The Possibility Project is not just an artistic process – it produces results. We measure our impact and address shortcomings in order to get better at what we do each year. Read more…
The Possibility Project in not dependent on any one artist or individual. Our program works and has proven that it can work in various communities as evidenced by our network of local programs. Our well-defined creative process and our training, evaluation and support allow for new programs to be built and led by others.
If you are interested in initiating a Possibility Project in your city, contact us. Learn more…