Y.E.P. We Are!

The Youth Exchange Project began in the summer of 2017 when founder, Shawnna Pledger, received a Cultural Vision Grant from the Arts and Science Council. The idea was to use theatre to help kids from the local refugee community tell their personal stories. All teens have stories to tell, so in the summer of 2019 the program expanded beyond the refugee community to include teens from diverse backgrounds. Each year since, Y.E.P has culminated in an original piece of theatre based on the experiences of the teen ensemble. The bigger idea is to use theatre to…

  • Empower students to identify and speak their stories.
  • Validate people who are not often (or allowed to be) seen or heard.
  • Create empathy by hearing, seeing and/or performing other people’s stories.
  • Encourage analysis and imagine different cultures and experiences.
  • Develop language skills through both written and spoken word.
  • Celebrate differing cultures and experiences.

Here’s our YEP: What we do video: