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Stories Alive encourages creativity & imagination among the youth in the Allegheny County Hsng. Auth. Sheldon Park & neighboring communities

Stories Alive!

Harrison Township, United States
Stories Alive! provides interactive learning, collaboration, mentoring and creative STEM activities that enhance social, emotional, physical and recreational experiences of elementary, middle and high school aged youth. All work together in the physical re-creation of the chosen story by sharing ideas & skills. The program continues to grow, featuring art, maker, and youth voice activities.

Stories Alive!

The Deborah D. Booker Community Center (DDBCC) Stories Alive!!!, is an interactive event which began in 2016 to encourage collaboration, mentoring, and imagination between the elementary aged and teen participants in the Allegheny County Housing Authority’s Sheldon Park and neighboring communities, creating a ReMakeLearning opportunity which resulted in a production delivery of Stories Alive!!!, in 2016, 2017, 2018, and coming soon in 2019. In 2016, a reading program began in the community to encourage the children to improve their reading skills. Since 2016, each year, a story is selected by the group of approximately 10-15 youth and 10-15 teens to be brought to life by recreating the characters in the story and making props and/or life sized puppets, and creating, choreographing, and learning the accompanying movements for the story. When the youth and teens began working together and building up their excitement for the story, imaginations came alive. The teens guided the youth in the physical re-creation of the story and they all worked together sharing ideas and talents, and skills. In 2017, the program grew, featuring art, maker, and youth voice activities. The goal of the “Stories Alive!!!” program is to provide interactive learning, collaboration, mentoring experience, and creative STEM activities for children and teens that enhance the social, emotional, physical and recreational functioning of elementary, middle and high school aged children.

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Innovation Overview
5 - 18
Age Group
Focus areas
Tips for implementation
Community residents and local agencies and businesses donate materials needed for the stories. All activities are hands on with the Booker Center teens guiding and working with the BJWL youth. Stories are performed interactively with the audiences on Community Day for local and county dignitaries and the residents of the community, and for the senior citizens at the neighborhood Senior High-rise building. This program can definitely be replicated by others. In fact, we encourage it. The only thing that would prevent replication of this program would be a lack of imagination. As long as youth are involved in the planning and given the freedom to express and implement their ideas, just stand back and watch it unfold. It functions well to meet the challenges of drawing young readers into a world of growth and interest beyond the walls of limitations. Stories can be (and are) repeated with existing props and improvising that serve to motivate young minds and engage new participants. The youth perpetuate energy, enthusiasm, and courage. Latch on – they will always take you somewhere!

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Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

Find an organization that works with youth
Find a Community Center, Community Library, Schools, or any other agency/organization that works with youth.
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Have the staff meet and discuss book/poetry choices
Have the staff meet and discuss possible book or poetry choices that would be adaptable to the “Stories Alive!” creative concepts.
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Have staff meet with teens in the program
Have staff meet with teens in the program to present the books or poems. and discuss presentation possibilities and make their selection.
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Have staff and teens present project to younger children
Have staff and teens present the project to the younger children and engage them in the creation of the story.
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Have teens guide them
Have teens guide them with the making of props and performance of the story.
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Release the creativity and imaginations!
Select a performance date and invite the community.
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