Concerned by the declining literacy rate in today’s middle and high schools, Ted Hartley and Dina Merrill created The Story Project enlisting one of Los Angeles’ most abundant resources, creative talent. Since then, we have reached thousands of kids with our entertainment-arts curriculum made possible by media professionals working in today’s film, television, and music industries. Our strategy is simple, inspire literacy through avenues they already enjoy. Each and every class occurs in an after-school setting where working writers, actors, directors and production professionals volunteer their time to our students. Through discussions and activities based in screenwriting, filmmaking, poetry, photography, and an assortment of media and art related fields, the mentors reveal personal stories while inspiring the kids to share their own. It has been our experience that these interactions bolster self-esteem while enhancing reading and writing skills.
Of late, The Story Project is working almost exclusively with Central High School in Mar Vista Gardens. This school embedded in the center of these housing projects is a unique community of learners who were once rejected by traditional public schooling and have now returned of their own accord. We are thrilled to have this opportunity to work with such an amazing group of students.