Sunday, September 27, 2009

AWOL Fall Enrollment 2009!

Well just in case you missed it, AWOL auditions went down at the Black Box earlier this month. And wow, was it a success. With our new Theater Director, Lakesha Green on board, the auditions were as smooth as a babies bottom! Lakesha is a SCAD and Alabama State grad packing not one but two degrees in Theater! AWOL's Hip-Hop play has now grown into a full scale Theater & Performing Arts program, with an advanced curriculum that follows National Arts Education Standards. And the program has a new name that fits along with the other AWOL program name themes, which usually at first send a negative message that we then make positive. The ACT UP! Theater Program is committed to doing exactly what the name says, teaching kids how to ACT UP!

This years fall enrollment audition totaled a whopping 80+ youth! One youth was so excited about being in the Sound Design program that he arrived late, after auditions were over and auditioned in the Black Box parking lot in his socks! His cousin had previously auditioned and afterward decided to stop by and let him know about the program. The aspiring rapper jumped at the chance, and that type of energy and enthusiasm from young people makes us very proud and excited to teach them.

So this past week we headed over to our old stomping ground, the St. Pius Family Resource Center and started practice. It....whoops..pause. I almost forgot some other exciting news. Dan Perez of Dan Perez Films was in town during the auditions to start a documentary film project about AWOL. Dan is going to be following us throughout the year and documenting the exciting life of the Jordan's as we use art and hip-hop culture as a tool to transform the lives of young people. Big ups to the Inn at Ellis Square for offering discounted room rates for his stay, but now we need a little help from you. In order to tell this story, we'll need some cold hard cash to support the project and in kind donations of restaurant gift certificates and free or deeply discounted hotel stays. Don't you want to see your company name in the credits when this film hits HBO and Sundance? Of course you do! Email me if your interested in helping out,

Okay, back to St. Pius where I left off. So we started this week and things are already looking good for the 5th Anniversary of the Hip-Hop play. This year our young people are doing a modern day version of Shakespeare's timeless love story, Romeo and Juliet. The story has been modernized and is set in Savannah, GA. Can't wait to see the final product, the script is ...well..I'm not going to spoil it for you. Just be sure to get your tickets early, since this show sells out every year!

And to add to the excitement the Chatham-Savannah Youth Futures Authorities annual summit hosted Grammy award winning recording artist Antwan "Big Boi" Patton of the group Outkast. Now, the kids were already just excited to see him in person, but for him to give them a SHOUT IN HIS SPEACH! LOL. I don't have to tell you that if they had not already drunk the AWOL kool-aid, they were sold after that! And what a great self-esteem boost for Savannah's young people. Big Ups to Zadonna Slay and the folks over a YFA for bringing down such a cool speaker that the youth could relate to. And most of all, thanks to Big Boi and the staff of Big Kidz Foundation Jennifer Lester and Joi Edwards along with Savannah's own Kareem Hill for making BIG things happen for AWOL kids.

You can also sponsor a child in AWOL for just $40 bucks per month! Wow! A high quality arts education program like this for such an affordable price? This has got to be the best thing since sliced bread! Click here to print the Sponsorship Form and send in your first payment.

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