I often perform improv on Friday nights, which makes me feel good, so for today's Feel Good Friday, I'd like to introduce you to The Unusual Suspects Theater Company in Los Angeles, California.
Their mission, found on their website, is "to empower youth in underserved and at-risk environments with the means and methods necessary to explore personal and social conflicts and develop self-esteem, communication and coping skills to make positive life choices and become productive members of the community."
Since 1993, The Unusual Suspects has worked with children between the ages of 9 and 21 who are in foster care, the juvenile justice system, gangs and/or low income communities providing a variety of theater programs. The main focus is on two consecutive 10-week workshops. The first is a playwriting workshop, which results in a staged reading by professional actors. The second is a performance workshop that readies the youth to perform the play they wrote in the previous workshop.
A review of the impact page explains that some of the changes experienced by the 300 kids who go through the program each year include improved self-esteem, communication and teamwork skills and decreased physical confrontation, drug use and gang involvement.
If you want to learn more, you can watch a segment about the program on NBC Los Angeles or a handful of other videos they have on the home page. You can support their work by donating cash or, if you live in the LA area, becoming a volunteer mentor. As always, for the latest and greatest, like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @UStheatreCo