by Nitra Gutierrez, Middle School and High School Program Associate
There’s a first time for everything. This weekend’s adventures marked a lot of “firsts” for us: first time to present our youth ensemble on a national scale, first flight on an airplane, first ride on a cable car, first chance to meet a famous solo performer and last but not least, first experience with jellyfish as a side dish and not just something to avoid on the beach.
This weekend, five ensemble members from the Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble presented at the National Conference on Health & Domestic Violence sponsored by Futures Without Violence. We shared an excerpt of our original play, Outside the Box during a plenary session entitled: Transformers: Risk, Resilience and the Promise of our Teens on the conference’s closing day. After the performance, one of our youth represented the ensemble on a panel to discuss teen relationship health.
As the Artistic Director for the Ensemble (and first time chaperone on a trip of this scale), finding the words to express the experience of this adventure is trickier than rounding up five teenagers in the biggest H&M clothing store they have ever seen. I hope sharing some of our photos with you can give you a taste of our experience. This trip is one I will hold onto for years to come. I know these kids will too. I am honored to work alongside such a fantastic group of youth who are creative, talented and committed to creating change among their peers. Thank you to Theatre Action Project & SafePlace for sending us on such a remarkable journey.