Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2006, $190,000)
Will Power to Youth (WPY) is a national model seven-week arts-based educational enrichment and best practices youth development program that teaches job readiness skills and seeks to address school dropout rates, unemployment and youth violence. WPY helps young people gain literacy and workforce skills necessary to remain attached to the educational system and gain future employment. Believing that the best way to learn is by doing, Will Power to Youth hires young people between the ages of 14 and 21 from families whose annual income is below the federal poverty thresholds and are at risk for delinquency and/or academic failure.
Each WPY session involves from 25 to 30 participants. These youth are hired for a seven-week period between high school semesters and work six hours per day, five days per week with professional artists and human relations facilitators to create an adaptation of a Shakespeare play that reflects their thoughts and feelings about Shakespeare's themes. WPY maintains a teacher to student ratio of 1 to 2 in order to provide the participants with the individual attention they require to succeed. Progress in the program is measured by attendance records, questionnaires, work products, observations, personal assessments, and a 4-6 month post-program follow-up, tracking academic performance and employment.nca/ncf