learn / 2015

Inspiring tomorrow’s storytellers today

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by 826LA

826LA and Young Storytellers will partner to inspire students to discover the power of their voice by helping them share their stories with the world. To encourage students to develop creative learning behaviors and English & Language Arts skills, L.A. must first show our youngest citizens that these skills matter by reinforcing that their voices matter. 826LA and Young Storytellers will engage volunteers to help today’s students become tomorrow’s storytellers.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • LAUSD

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Expand a pilot or a program
  • Collaborate to expand the impact of two writing-based organizations on improving high school proficiency in English & Language Arts

How will your proposal improve the following “Learn” metrics?

  • HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts and Math

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to learn.

Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world, but the marginalized populations that 826LA and Young Storytellers work with do not often have the opportunity to share their stories widely. To encourage students to develop their English & Language Arts skills and creative learning behaviors that encourage lifelong learning, L.A. must first show our youngest citizens that these skills matter, that their voices are important, and that their stories are valued. By identifying their stories and helping them share those stories publicly through writing, 826LA and Young Storytellers will empower young people to increase their literacy skills through meaningful self-expression. Students will gain important communication skills that will help them succeed beyond school as confident, engaged members of their community. Last year, 95% of students reported that working with 826LA in their classrooms helped them increase their confidence about writing, and 90% of teachers reported a marked improvement in their students’ writing skills as the result of an 826LA project. In the 2014 school year, 97% of Young Storytellers mentors observed a growth in their writer’s ability to think creatively, 98% of mentors observed a growth in their writer’s confidence, and 88% of parents noticed an improvement in the creativity of their children.

Through this project, 826LA and Young Storytellers will partner with local Title I LAUSD schools and teachers to help 2,000 severely disadvantaged students to write their stories. Through a variety of storytelling mediums including but not limited to personal essay, fiction, graphic novels, and screenplays, 826LA and Young Storytellers will provide a safe space for students to develop their literacy skills and give them a platform to share their stories with the world. To help develop the next generation of storytellers, some of today’s entertainment professionals including writers, artists, producers, and filmmakers will mentor students as they write and edit their stories. The culmination of this project will be a book, jointly published by 826LA and Young Storytellers, collecting stories written by students for wide distribution. 826LA and Young Storytellers will celebrate the publication of this book during a public event. Featuring students reading their own words and professional actors dramatizing their screenplays, this public event will provide both a figurative and a literal stage for students to share their stories.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

826LA and Young Storytellers aim to serve 2,000 students total from Title I LAUSD schools (1,000 students per organization). To evaluate the effectiveness of this project, the organizations will track the number of students served as well as the overall effectiveness of the writing support. 826LA will track its effectiveness using qualitative and quantitative surveys for students and teachers. Young Storytellers’ evaluation approach takes two distinct forms: Outcome and Process Evaluation.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)
  • Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)
  • Network/relationship support