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A 2013 count of the homeless in Los Angeles found 5,737 transitional age youth ages 18 to 24, plus another 817 unaccompanied youth under age 18 living on our streets. The numbers have increased greatly since then.

The majority of these kids are homeless due to family breakdown and conflict, system breakdown, and poverty. 20%-40% are LGBT. These kids have suffered from tremendous challenges and they need our support!    

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Create Now is collaborating with Creative Director Rebecca Reese's full-service creative agency RCreative to launch "MediaMavericks." Our program is helping 10 homeless youth to learn about Entertainment and Corporate Marketing. They've come to us from S.P.Y. (A Safe Place for Youth), which is a drop-in center in Venice, and the LGBT Youth Center on Highland in Hollywood, a transitional living facility.

Our workshop is proving to be a great success. Rebecca commented, "MediaMavericks has been a life-changing program. These students are incredibly talented!"
The youth have been divided into two Agencies ("Insidious Scenes" and "Meaningful Miscreants") that are producing content for one-minute corporate PSAs (Public Service Announcements), which their Clients (mentors) have tasked them to create. They're learning skills in Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production from pros in the entertainment industry who are volunteering their time.

Rick Giannelli is the Lead On-Air Promotions Staff Editor/Producer at CBS. He expressed, "They've taught me just as much about life as I've taught them about the industry." Other mentors include Lead Editor/Writer/Producer at Bravo, Scarlet Perez, Social Media Expert Megan Westerby, Owner of WolfFilms Lara Wickes, Owner of Digital Spatula Steve Taylor, Create Now Founder and CEO Jill Gurr, and Program Developer Wellington Moreno. These experts bring decades of experience to the table and are passionate about growing the next generation of talent.   

Alex from S.P.Y. remarked, "I really appreciate the time you guys take out of your day to help children who are poor. It makes me want to give back."   

Our eight-session program has been taking place at a variety of locales, including General Assembly, Studio71, and West La College. The students are engaged in all aspects of the process, from conception to completion. The premiere will take place at USC Annenberg in September.  

Bernard from the LGBT Youth Center on Highland stated, "I've learned so much. I want to use this knowledge to brand myself and to put myself on the map." 

Once MediaMavericks has wrapped, students will have the opportunity to pursue a career in physical production through West Los Angeles College where they can learn the below-the-line crafts of the entertainment industry.

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Vivian from the LGBT Youth Center shared, "I'm looking forward to getting an internship. A couple of us are already working on setting up another project when this one is done."      

Create Now brought some of our students to see the iPalpiti Youth Orchestra at Disney Concert Hall and they'll also be going to the Hollywood Bowl. We'll continue to support these talented young adults so they can become leaders in our community, instead of depressing statistics about L.A.'s homeless population. 

Summer Arts for Needy Kids

The St. Francis Center is a food pantry for homeless and low-income families. They provide free showers, clothing and more to the neediest people in our DTLA neighborhood.

For the past three summers, they've hired Create Now to implement fun arts projects for 15-20 children ages 5-14. The kids had a blast making puppets with Lisa Friedman. They explored the abstract art of Matisse with Krysten Cunningham, then made their own original art.

The kids really enjoyed playing with actor Derrel Maury as they learned the history of acting and engaged in a variety of improv games.

Thanks to the St. Francis Center and Dan Murphy Foundation for making this summer camp possible for these disadvantaged children, who very much appreciated it.

Music For Young Children

Beth Sussman taught Musically Speaking to all the second-grade students (103 children) during 10 sessions at Rowan Avenue Elementary School in East Los Angeles, thanks to a grant from the Dwight Stuart Youth Fund. She guided the kids in fun, interactive games that included singing, dancing and

School principal Margarita Gutierrez remarked, "This program enriched our students' abilities to process language and build on vocabulary and foundational skills. Create Now is an amazing asset."

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Another music program took place at Urban Compass, which supports low-income children in Watts with programs to keep them safe. Create Now provided 20 pre-kinder children ages 3-5 with our Ready to Learn steady beat workshop, and they loved it!

Taught in just four classes by Kristen Herbert, these kids learned how to play musical instruments and sing as they bonded with their parents, who were given special training. One mother exclaimed, "My son wants to sing all the time now, and his spoken English has improved."

Thanks to the Jubilation Foundation and Tides Foundation for helping to make this program possible.

Check out this short video about our Ready to Learn program at Urban Compass.

"From Inspiration to Publication"

California ranks among the lowest states on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) because of the high number of English learners.  

Create Now strives to help disadvantaged students in Title 1 schools through our popular writing program, From Inspiration to Publication, where youth create stories and poems, plus draw cartoons. They use their imaginations to share ideas and collaborate to come up with a title and theme. The outcome is a published book, which they can treasure and show off to family and friends.

Thanks to the Dwight Stuart Youth Fund, we recently implemented this program at Logan Middle School in Echo Park, where only 25% of the students are proficient in English. They created a wonderful book called "Weird Things." Check out this short video: 

We'd also like to express our appreciation to the Youth Policy Institute and their LA Promise Neighborhood initiative for enabling Create Now to launch the same program at Vaughan Middle School in Pacoima. Taught by Ron Raley, 20 children got to write a book called "Pieces of Us." They loved it! 
Edwin gushed, "This class is the highlight of the year! I've gotten so much joy. It brought out my inner potential. I've never been so confident in myself, or so committed to something in my life, not even video games!"

Allaleth remarked, "It was inspirational and motivational. I felt like I had finally found a place of my own."

Marlene shared, "I loved this class because I wrote my heart out and I learned a lot. This is the most I have EVER written."

As always, every child in Create Now's workshops received a gift bag filled with lasting souvenirs to remind them of their successes.