We Are The Youth Exchange Project!


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.


we continued to expand the program to include teens 14-19 from different diverse backgrounds to share their stories as well. This culminated each session in an original piece of theatre based on these experiences.


Corona, so we went virtual and started to include teens from other ares of the country. We discovered possibilities not considered before.


Back to in-person but included some teens from outside the area (in person) and educators from as far away as Boston and England!


Expanding the program with local and national partnerships, that include, but are not limited to Rise Expeditions to include diverse teens from around the country!

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.
Year 2