Alice's Story: an interactive, anti-bullying performance and workshop

Congratulations! This Entry has been selected as a finalist.

Alice's Story: an interactive, anti-bullying performance and workshop

New York, United StatesNew York, United States
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Alice’s Story is an interactive anti-bullying workshop and performance designed to help kids put a stop to bullying.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

When empathy is absent, bullying persists. One in every 4 kids is bullied. 8 percent of students miss one day of class a month for fear of bullies. One out of 5 kids admits to being a bully, or doing some bullying. Two-thirds of students who are targets become bullies. In schools where there are bullying programs, bullying is reduced by 50 percent. By working with over 7,000 K-8th grade students in over 300 classrooms annually, MBS provides students with practical solutions to bullying through theater and kinesthetic learning.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Alice’s Story, Making Books Sing’s interactive anti-bullying performance and workshop, is designed to appeal to students’ empathy and creativity in solving real-life bullying problems. Two actor-educators visit a classroom and facilitate a 45-minute interactive theatre workshop. The workshop includes moments of scripted performance, guided discussion and improvisation. The program seeks to create a safe learning environment for all students, to create communities of respect and inclusion, and to empower students to be agents of positive change.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Our program works as follows: Two teaching artists visit a classroom and facilitate a 45-minute interactive theater workshop. During the workshops the students fulfill three roles – audience members, critical thinkers and actors. The students begin by viewing short scenes performed by the teaching artists that illustrate different forms of bullying. This story explores how bullying can range from subtle taunting to outright aggression, and it also looks at the important role bystanders play in these situations. The students are then engaged in a conversation, brainstorming effective ways to counter bullying and what to do when it happens. Finally, the students have the opportunity to become the actors in the skits, implementing the countering strategies they developed as a class.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Several organizations in NYC, including PFLAG, FIERCE and City Kids, are working to put a stop to bullying. Most anti-bullying programs in NYC are lecture based and engage students as passive audience members. Alice’s Story uses strategic theatre techniques to actively engage students in the learning process. Students become stakeholders in the outcome of the program—this empowers them with a sense of ownership while also validating their own experiences, insights, emotions and solutions. The workshop does not provide students with a script of what to say in a bullying situation. Instead, students integrate words, empathy and actions into their bodies through guided discussion and improvisation. Our peers make for great partners, allowing us to reach more children in the community.
About You
Making Books Sing, Inc.
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Making Books Sing, Inc.

Organization Country

, NY, New York, New York County

Country where this project is creating social impact

, NY, New York, New York County

Your role in Education

After-School Provider, Other.

The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with

Public (tuition-free)

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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How long has your solution been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

Alice’s Story is an interactive anti-bullying workshop and performance designed to help kids put a stop to bullying.

Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

Students function as audience members, critical thinkers and actors as they brainstorm effective strategies to counteract bullying.

Social Impact
What has been the impact of your solution to date?

Since the program was created in November 2010, Alice’s Story has presented over 200 times, in over 25 schools and community centers, to over 6,000 students in all five NYC boroughs. A Teacher at VOICE Charter School in Queens says, “Through role playing, the actors appealed to the students’ empathy and creativity in solving real-life bullying problems. The experience has definitely added to our effort to create a caring community where bullying doesn’t happen.”

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

Alice’s Story will reach 6,000-8,000 students annually. We will partner with more community organizations whose mission involves creating communities of respect and inclusion in order to give young people the best, most effective ways to deal with bullying.

We will also expand our anti-bullying efforts to include bias-based bullying, in which individuals are targeted and harassed specifically because of an identifiable trait, choice or physical characteristic—this could include someone’s sexual orientation, religion, gender identity, race or physical appearance. The expanded program, targeted primarily toward 6-8th graders, will include examining social justice, cyberbullying and civic responsibility.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

Lack of funding in the schools has posed a challenge to Making Books Sing since the recession in 2008. However, we are constantly working on diversifying our funding sources in order to subsidize programming. This year, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, we were able to gift 1-2 free sessions of Alice’s Story per participating school.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Alice’s Story will serve all 3rd grade students in one of the five boroughs.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Receive partial funding from a borough president/and or city council.

Task 2

Receive partial funding from a matching donor.

Task 3

Partner with schools to plan workshops.

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Making Books Sing will partner with a cultural organization with a similar mission to expand the number of children we serve.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Create a partnership with a cultural organization.

Task 2

Combine our marketing/publicity efforts.

Task 3

Strategically plan workshops in neighborhoods across the five boroughs.

Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]

In 1996, Making Books Sing began as the family theatre and education program of the Tony Award-winning Vineyard Theatre. Today, Making Books Sing is in its eleventh year as an independent nonprofit that produces professional theatre and related arts-in-education programs, inspiring children to grow as literate, creative and socially aware individuals.

Artistic Director and Founder Barbara Zinn Krieger says, “I felt there was a need for the kind of good and professional work that I was used to for adults at The Vineyard for children, and from what I could see, there wasn’t much of it around. I started Making Books Sing as the educational arm of The Vineyard and discovered that my passion shifted to that.”

Tell us about your partnerships

Making Books Sing maintains partnerships with over 35 public schools in all five boroughs of NYC, New Jersey and Long Island. Half of the schools are long-term partners of five years or more.

MBS also partners with community and cultural organizations, offering free programs in diverse performance spaces to the general public. Our most recent community partners include Brooklyn Children's Museum, Staten Island Zoo, Central Park Zoo, New York Hall of Science, Bronx Zoo, and American Museum of Natural History.

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]

Alice's Story is overseen by Executive Director Andrew Frank and Artistic Director Barbara Zinn Krieger, led and administered by Education Director Brooke Boertzel, and implemented by our 25 highly-trained teaching artists. Teaching Artists work in conjunction with classroom teachers to plan and evaluate the program.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

Making Books Sing's primary need combines two resources: collaboration and marketing. We are able to reach more children when we work with our community and cultural partners, specifically with cross-promotional marketing.