Shakes DIY: Purpose quest

So! I told you in my last post that I would tell you all about how my husband and I do our Shakes program. That is, a program in which we do professional-quality Shakespearean plays with kids from the inner city. It’s been talked about in English conferences across the country for the past two years and thousands of people have seen our performances.

Cast of Julius Caesar

First step to Shakes: We define our goal.

Shakes is, first and foremost, a mentorship and discipleship program in which we choose 10 or 12 students who we think have potential, and conscientiously invest in them. Everything goes back to that. We use Shakespeare to do it, but the main goal is to grow the students individually as leaders.

All of our decisions are based off of our main goal.

Example: We don’t hold auditions. Kids from our Urban Impact Performing Arts Academy are allowed to apply, and we hand-choose from the applicants. Some we choose because we see leaders in the making. Some we choose because we’d rather have them with us than in the streets for the summer. Some we choose because we want to surround them with a loving atmosphere. Some we choose because they just love the program so much they beg to be part of it. But we choose all of them, no audition required.

So if we are ever in a quandary about, say, whether a student should be in the cast when she’s making poor life choices, we go back to our main goal: How can we best help her and her fellow students to grow as a leader? We ended up asking her to do crew instead of being on stage.

So what is the goal of your program?

Do you want to teach literacy? Do you want to give kids stage experience? Do you want to invest in a kid’s life?

Pick a goal and go for it! The rest of your program decisions will be informed by this goal.


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