Has the recession shunned the community from caring about youth projects? In the past three (3) months, local organizations like Youth Family Student Community (YFSC) and Young American National Awareness Campaign (YANAC), through their Social Arts Production (SIP) division have been diligently asking for financial support from the community of Carson, CA. Their project, “Our School’s Got Talent”, includes ten schools in the district: Carson, Narbonne, Compton, San Pedro, Washington Prep, CAMS, New Millennium, HTPA, and POLA. It is a healthy talent competition between these 10 schools to promote the arts, encourage the youth to perfect their skills, provide a healthy environment where their talents are noticed, and give the youth something to be proud about.
In most case scenarios, an event that brings different high schools together typically sends an alarming caution to the city authorities. Why? Well, because an environment that attracts students from different high schools is seen as trouble. The possible gang related violence and the mere school spirit rivalry can create unwanted riot.
Last Friday, June 17th 2011, “Our School’s Got Talent” finale event took place at Cal-State Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) Loker Student Union. The Social Impact Productions miraculously pulled the show together even with the lack of financial sponsors. CSUDH staff was kind enough to offer the venue at a very affordable price. Not to mention, SouthBay Pavilion has supported the program by hosting the ten (10) preliminary rounds of the talent show.
What companies don’t realize is the golden opportunity for direct marketing. SIP works closely with the teens and their parents and any company that can benefit from that type of contact should definitely take advantage of this opportunity. Honda, Toyota, Sony, Nintendo, Chase, Bank of America, Netflix and all other youth related brands should come forward and take interest in this gold mine.
After careful analysis, “Our School’s Got Talent” will need at least $5,000, per season, in-kind donation to operate efficiently. The first season was a bittersweet experience for SIP. All of the volunteers spent at least 20 hours a week with no stipend, gas reimbursement, or food allowance. They all did what they had to do out of the kindness of their heart. But as we all can presume, working excessively, without financial support, took a toll on most of the SIP volunteers. Over halfway through the competition 4 out of the 7 volunteers had to focus on their personal financial situations to keep up with their bills.
Needless to say, “Our School’s Got Talent” was never the same after the falling out of the original group. This is a very important factor in any non-profit ventures. The loyal volunteers must know how to weed out the others. The biggest mistake in this production was trusting that everyone will be willing to work hard until the end.
Thankfully so, the CEO of YANAC took interest in the project and was able to fill a little of the gap that was created. The show didn’t finish as strong as I imagined it to be, but the important part is that we finished and there are now a few students hold the 2011 title!
I strongly suggest that YFSC, SIP, and YANAC should not give up on this journey. After all, the first one is always the biggest learning curve. It will get better as we now have more time to prepare for Season 2, which will start in February of 2012. I will continue to help these organizations as much as I can and I’m hoping that financial supporters will realize by the end of 2011 that this is a golden opportunity.
This talent show has been an inspirational journey. The staff and volunteers have differing opinions at times but each show ends with a heart warming joy as we see the high school students really enjoy themselves. There has been plenty of talented students that were featured in the show and SIP is hoping that it will create a buzz within talent agencies in the next season.
Photos from the talent show….