KesemShelShir, the Magic of Music

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KesemShelShir, the Magic of Music

Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Kesem Shel Shir provides free musical theater enrichment for underprivileged students at schools with little or no funding for the arts. Engaging children through project-based learning, Kesem works magic - igniting imagination, learning, empathy and fun for entire school communities.

About Project

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

School by school, community by community, our world needs imaginative, motivated, capable, and empathetic citizens. Using talented teens and project-based learning, Kesem provides an engaging, productive and fun experience, designed to inspire friendship, hard work, and pride across school communities. We have provided programs at a local Los Angeles public school (8-week after school, producing Cinderella, 20 elementary students) and at a learning center in Israel (intensive 2-week summer workshop, producing High School Musical Jr, 22 middle school students). I lead by example. I am organized, reliable, patient, and give 200% every day. These qualities are contagious and empower the whole school community.
Impact: How does it Work

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

Kesem directly engages youth in the fantasy world of musical theater. After a brief audition process (everyone selected by the site administrator to participate gets a part), we settle down to learn blocking, singing, acting, and dancing. Along the way, we incorporate various bonding games and experiences to encourage new friendships, respect and collaboration. Whether the structure is our 8 week after school program or a summer intensive, Kesem's curriculum nurtures imagination, confidence, hardwork and respect, What a glorious way to positively benefit society! When you take the basic premise as described above, and add that to our work in school communities comprised of diverse populations, the byproducts of our program are so meaningful. The significance of providing this program in a mixed town such as Ramla, Israel, as we did in 2012, cannot be understated. Watching the Jewish, Christian Arab, Muslim Arab, Columbian, and Ethiopian children perform “We’re all in this Together” was a stunning reminder that children know how to make peace, and only topped by watching Ramla parents, educators, and community leaders delight in the awe-inspiring example of peace. The same was equally true for the experience here in Los Angeles. Kesem engages kids in such a positive and lasting way. Administrators love our program. They marvel at how engaged their students are throughout the project, from shy children who just need a little more confidence in order to thrive, as well as students who otherwise face behavior and attention type issues.

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

There is an insatiable need for arts enrichment which I will continue to address. Establish More Programs for 2013: I will spend the next two months solidifying Kesem programs in Los Angeles and abroad for this coming summer and school year. Unlike the United States, there is very little children's theater in Israel. The Israeli Director of the Youth Renewal Fund has indicated that she would like me to work with her to design a template for my musical theater English immersion experience there. I will also be contacting companies that provide philanthropic experiences for teens and college students (e.g., Rustic Pathways) to see how we can incorporate a Kesem experience as one of their offered summer or gap year programs. Establish Kesem Teen Chapters at Other Schools: I will use the next year exploring ways to inspire high school students at other schools to form "Kesem Chapters" at their sites. Each Kesem Chapter will designate a Kesem Assistant Director who will be responsible for being in touch with me and coordinating training for the Kesem Chapter. The training will be primarily conducted by incorporating the new teen teachers into one of my programs this coming year. Implement Training Program: I plan on training a few Kesem Directors this coming summer, having them shadow Kesem's programs here in Los Angeles.

Founding Story

Students: Project-based learning truly engages the students. We see this in their growth in terms of confidence, skills, and friendships throughout their Kesem experience. Parents: Parents have been extremely moved by their students' growth. Relatives in the audience in Los Angeles rushed up to us after the performance, begging in Spanish to bring Kesem to their schools. Dads in Israel came up to us after the performance, expressing their deepest appreciation for making their dreams come true. Administrators embrace our presence, cherishing the positive impact on their school, and marveling at how our project-based program engages all students – those with behavior difficulties as well as shy gifted students needing a place to shine. Israeli administrators were stunned by the impact of our English immersion approach. Kesem fosters self- respect and respect for others, nurturing dedicated and empathetic young adults.