Raising Our Youth as Leaders

Program for Middle School and High School Youth

Raising Our Youth As Leaders (R.O.Y.A.L.) teaches multimedia arts to middle and high school youth by intentionally intersecting with an extensive network of youth programs and resources that are committed to increasing opportunity and access for disadvantaged youth. DTWT coordinates its programs with district government agencies (DCPS, DC Department of Employment Services), other youth-serving nonprofits (LMS Voice, Life Success Center and Youth Entrepreneur Institute), and private businesses (District Funk Records, MJT Television, and Strategies For Youth). Our program not only equips youth with work readiness skills, but we also teach youth how to study the world around them and present their work in a manner that both moves the logical and the emotional brain and ultimately provides young people with the knowledge, skill, and audience to get their voice to the world in a constructive way. Our workshops are crafted to enhance the writing, communication, and performance skills of our youth participants. It's one thing to write a poem about social justice, it is another thing to have an audience applaud you for it, or to see your words in print. We make space for and educate dynamic youth on how to tap into their creative power to produce social justice art that can change the world.

Our leadership program incorporates themes that are relevant to youth from disadvantaged communities. For example, during the summer of 2020, our youth coordinated a Virtual Town Hall that explored the intersecting dynamics between COVID-19, the death of George Floyd, and Racism. Our program gives youth a voice in addressing issues that have a negative impact on their schools, neighborhoods, and communities like violence, racism, and bullying. Our program activates student involvement through poetry, songwriting/music production, Public Service Announcements, violence prevention life skills, and Town Halls. We offer our programs after-school and during the summer. During the summer, youth are paid by the DC Department of Employment Services through the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). Do The Write Thing provides a stipend to youth for their after-school participation. This project is offered directly or virtually using Zoom.

List of sites where R.O.Y.A.L. Multimedia Project has been offered from 2010-2021:

  • Woodson SHS
  • Malcolm X Community Center
  • Kramer Middle School
  • Hart Middle School
  • Kelly Miller Middle School
  • DC Housing Authority Southeast Family Center

List of schools whose students participate in DTWT's 2020-21 citywide virtual program:

  • Cesar Chavez Public Policy Charter Schools
  • Banneker Academic High School
  • McKinley Technology Education Campus
  • Woodson High School
  • IDEA Public Charter School