We’re proud of the many success stories achieved through our programs each year. Following are a few of our all-stars who, with our help and their very devoted mentors, have turned their lives around.
We’re extremely proud of Tasha, who recently completed writing, producing, directing and editing a feature documentary on standup comedy, after having traveled around the U.S. performing standup comedy. Her routine is partly based on her experiences of abuse as a child.
Tasha joined Create Now in 1998 at age 15 when she participated in a Sitcom Writing Workshop at Mid-Valley Youth Center. She had been in and out of nine detention facilities since age 12, but after learning how to write a “Moesha” TV script, she discovered that she loved the film and TV industry. Tasha was such a talented, bright, and enthusiastic participant that she had a number of mentors who loved working with her.
Tasha graduated from the USC Film School Program with a B.S. degree in 2004. Considered one of the best film schools in the world, only about 50 students from all over the world are accepted to attend each year. Through the efforts of her Create Now mentors, Tasha received a scholarship from Warner Bros. Studios. She also completed her first year of law school at Northern Illinois University in Chicago.
Tasha has published two books (both available on Amazon): A.W.O.L. teaches incarcerated youth how to get through the juvenile justice system; and Rewriting Harry Potter. She has been writing film reviews for the “Chicago Drama Film Examiner” for several years and has written a number of screenplays. Tasha continues writing scripts and books. Check out Tasha's story in her own words:
Frank was headed down a dangerous path. He never knew his father, who had abandoned his family many years ago. His two older brothers were in prison and he was forced to take care of his younger siblings while his mother worked hard to support her family. He joined a local gang in Compton and got in trouble for ditching school and doing drugs. The court sentenced him to live at a facility for troubled youth.
Create Now got a call from Frank’s social worker, who was trying to find a mentor for the youth. He had a passion to learn how to play the saxophone and the social worker was able to get one donated, but he still needed lessons. We got Frank free saxophone lessons during the summer through the Henry Mancini Institute. Then we arranged a private lesson for him with his favorite saxophonist, world-famous musician Michael Lington. Frank was a huge fan and knew every note of Michael’s songs. After spending just one hour with Michael, Frank changed his life. He dropped out of his gang and joined Compton Community College, becoming the First Chair Sax! He continues to do well as he plays the horn today (Create Now got him a new sax when his instrument broke).
Watch Frank and Michael featured on Univision’s “Nuestra Navidad” with Gloria Estefan at the White House in 2009.
Liz was constantly fighting at school. She was sentenced to spend time at Mid-Valley Youth Center. She signed up for a role in our Theatre workshop. Liz is now hooked on acting. She takes advantage of different opportunities that we provide, including the chance to meet the Honorable Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
We have helped Liz to get headshots and gave her books to assist with her career. She’s taking classes in modeling and acting while raising her two sons. Now the only fighting that she might participate in will be on the screen.