Youth Exchange Project

We Are the

Youth Exchange Project

What We Do

We take a group of intentionally diverse teens and spend two weeks with them exploring, creating, questioning and learning. The teens take classes in theatre, movement, poetry, social justice and diversity. They are tasked with working together to create a performance in order to share their experience and learning.

We began…

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. This summer of  2020 we continue to expand the program to include teens 14-19 from different diverse backgrounds to share their stories as well. This will culminate in an original piece of virtual theatre based on these experiences. 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.

How You Can Help

Send a Donation

Giving online has never been more secure, convenient or hassle-free with our one-click donation. We also do accept standard cash and check donations.

Become a Volunteer

You can get involved today by becoming a Volunteer. Sign up and you will be joining a group of change-makers, a network strong enough to impact positive change in the lives of these teens.

Give Scholarship

Your gift will help equip teens in need with necessary resources, training and education while offering the promise of a brighter future. You can make a difference today by signing up.


Recent Updates

    Shawnna Pledger, Y.E.P.’s founder and director, reflects on this year’s summer intensive.
  • Y.E.P. 2020 Sharing
    The 2020 Y.E.P. cohort shares a digital showcase.
  • Faculty Spotlight: Mason Parker
    Meet new Y.E.P. faculty member Mason Parker. Rapper, writer and actor, Mason will be guiding the students through an exploration of the spoken word.