Earlier this year I jumped at the invitation from my friend Ernestine to attend the Scenarios USA Awards and Gala and learn more about her work. I met teen writers and educators and talked about one of my favorite subjects: empowering young people to tell their stories in a way that impacts society and culture. The awards ceremony made me cry. I don't know anyone else who is doing work like this--using film as a vehicle for under-served teens to talk about issues that are relevant to their lives and to pioneer a new kind of education about core issues like gender and power.
In addition to their curriculum which is taught in three regions of the U.S., every year Scenarios USA hosts a writing contest for teens. The winners are joined by Hollywood filmmakers to make short films that are shown around the country--at festivals, on television and in classrooms. They need 1000 readers to give 90 minutes of their time in February to make these young writers' dreams a reality. There are still some vacancies for the 2011-2012 Selection Committee, and I invite you to join me and register before the December 31st deadline.