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We Are the World Blogfest, August 2017

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Quote of the Day: “I think that what they’re trying to do is prove that like even though you have a juvenile delinquent, you can trust them and they can, like, move on from assault and battery.  Also, I think it’s to get our anger out,” Titania said. Participant in a “Sentenced to Stage” alternative to locking kids up for crimes, everything from breaking and entering to substance abuse or assault. Instead, they learn Shakespeare!

This post is part of the We Are the World Blogfest created to spread a positive message. From the creator Damyanti Biswas: “We Are the World Blogfest” seeks to promote positive news. There are many an oasis of love and light out there, stories that show compassion and the resilience of the human spirit. Sharing these stories increases our awareness of hope in our increasingly dark world. 

I heard about this program from a retired teacher in our area. He said that kids who are caught and convicted of crimes are being paired up with actors and directors from the famed Shakespeare & Company in Massachusetts. Judge Paul Perachi started this program 17 years ago, noting that Shakespeare himself was seen as a tyrant, going against social norms. He saw the value in creating stories together on stage, of learning the difficult language and the beauty of the bard’s words. He showed the kids how to create, how to channel their anger and emotions, and a different way of coping than acting out in a negative way. You can read more in this article from CBS news

I work with youth in the Brainerd lakes area on developing scripts together. It always amazes me how it turns into a wonderful, cooperative experience where kids are working together, making friends, using their creativity and cheering each other on. If a student is late, or had missed the week before, the other students cheer that student in the door, truly glad that they are there to share this experience. 

“Sentenced to Stage” reading and learning Shakespeare, creating stories together, a shared experience, that is the success of these programs. They give kids a sense of belonging. “The play’s the thing,” from Hamlet, “Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.”

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: What cooperative programs do you have in your community?

  1. Hi Mary – what a brilliant initiative and how innovative of Judge Perachi to set the venture up – and I’m sure it helps … your post tells us that as too the article from CBS.

    I’m not sure of initiatives coming out of the judicial system – but I’m sure there are. Equally there are a number of charitable initiatives in town for the young, the vulnerable and the elderly …

    Wonderful to read about this – thanks .. cheers Hilary

  2. Sylvia McGrath says:

    Thank you Mary for sharing this story. Many years ago I worked in a Children’s Home and some of the children there had behavioral problems. All they needed really was to play out their anger and to be accepted. Thank you again for sharing and participating in #WATWB

  3. This is so wonderful! These kinds of experiences can literally be life-changing and I would so love to see them not as the exception but the norm. I really do agree with you that how a community treats its youngest and oldest citizens is truly telling. Kudos to the program, and thanks for sharing.

  4. What an unusual (and apparently effective) method of redirecting all that energy! Sounds like a terrific program. Thanks for sharing it.

  5. Thanks for sharing about this wonderful community project, Mary! Kids deserve all the love and nurturing they can get.

    I haven’t created WATWB– it is the baby of the entire team, but I do feel very fortunate that I’m able to help organize it. Thanks again for participating, I appreciate your support.

  6. I love this initiative.
    Sentenced To Stage – brilliant!
    Art is a wonderful form of therapy and I’m sure this program has benefited loads of youngsters who would have gone totally off the rails…
    Thank you for sharing this, Mary!

  7. What a smart and forward thinking program. Most of these kids probably would like some attention and a sense of self-worth. This program has an opportunity to provide both. Thanks for sharing this, Mary!

  8. What a great initiative, this will no doubt be the turning point in many of these kid’s lives. Thank you so much for sharing this and being part of #WATWB. 🙂

  9. A different route to restructuring and rehabilitating kids! Lovely. I heard a program from San Quentin with all the actors explaining their roles in a Shakespearian play. Murderers. Rapists. Lifers and near to release. All of them stopped being who they used to be for a time and became Laertes, Hamlet, and the ghostly father.

  10. Though it is sad these youths found themselves in a situation where they had to be sentenced. It is wonderful that this judge has given them an option that should help change them in a positive way. Long may it last. Currently, I live in a small town. I know that many of the youths are kept busy with activities such as 4H. It is a farm and ranch community. There is also recreation center that caters to all ages: youth to those way beyond my age. There are also all kinds of sports throughout the school year. Plus drama and academics. I’ve even heard tell of some art activities. Thanks so much for sharing the story of these youths and for being a part of #WATWB

  11. Mary, I just love this. To promote drama and theatre to young people is great. To use it to rehabilitate young people just thrills me. Thanks for sharing this Simon’s Still Stanza #WATWB

  12. Such a good initiative to guide the youngsters through a positive step.We need more options for them.

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