Voices of Change

Voices of Change: A Competitive Creative Experience. The Day After Tomorrow

This year, SchoolTalk’s Voices of Change is a creative competitive experience! Eight school teams will square off to create short multimedia works with the theme, “The Day After Tomorrow.”

Teams will be composed of up to 10 youth with individualized education programs (IEPs) or 504 plans. Each team will receive virtual coaching from experts in advocacy, communication, problem-solving, music production, photography, visual art, videography and performance. Each school team will then compete with other schools on Instagram Live in a format and style similar to TV’s The Voice. Coaching artists include Gabriel “Asheru” Benn, Konshens the MC, and Will Starks.

Beyond the competition, each school’s multimedia creations are an advocacy tool and will be shared across D.C. to elevate youth voices and visions to advocate for change. A social media campaign and work-based learning experiences will be integrated throughout the process. Youth will have opportunities to explore various roles in the creative, production, communications, and presentation processes.

The purpose of Voices of Change is to use art to equip youth with the knowledge and skills to lead self-determined lives through opportunities to LEARN, LEAD, and ACT. Skills to be developed include:

  • Artistic, problem-solving, and self-expression skills (through opportunities to create)
  • Self-awareness and identity skills (through opportunities to explore self),
  • Civic engagement and advocacy skills (through opportunities to build meaningful relationships and connect as they engage in an inclusive community)
  • Vocational skills (through work-based learning experiences).

The Details

Time Commitment
Students will participate in 20 – 30 hours of coaching in problem-solving, collaboration, communication, and creating artistic pieces between March – May 2021. The program schedule will be created to best meet the needs of the accepted group of students for this cycle. Sessions may be scheduled outside of regular school hours.

All participants will need access to a computer or tablet for the duration of the program. Students who do not have access to technology will be loaned SchoolTalk devices. SchoolTalk will provide all appropriate software and teach participants how to use it.

Public Health & Safety Considerations
All sessions will be conducted virtually. For students who are comfortable, optional in-person, sessions will be scheduled in a local studio. Social distancing, mask usage, and other appropriate health recommendations will be in place for these optional sessions.

We Pay Youth
SchoolTalk’s Voices of Change Program is FREE to participants!!! In fact, SchoolTalk will pay a stipend to students who complete at least 20 hours of programming! As teams advance, they will become eligible for additional cash prizes!

Youth Multimedia Project Examples
Curious what kind of multimedia projects youth have created with SchoolTalk? Check out our example gallery!

Eligibility Requirements
Participants must meet the following criteria to be eligible to participate:

  • Interest in pursuing a creative or artistic career (including careers in music production, photography, videography, painting, drawing, communications, advocacy, and more)
  • D.C. high school student with an individualized education program (IEP) or 504 plan
  • Age 14 – 22
  • Must be able to participate in at least 20 hours of coaching sessions between March and May 2021

Application Instructions
This is a creative competitive experience for D.C. schools. Interested schools are asked to nominate an educator to serve as a liaison between the school and SchoolTalk. The educator is responsible for:

  • Supporting up to 10 youth with IEPs or 504 plans in completing & submitting the application
  • Upon acceptance, coordinating with SchoolTalk staff to support youth in completing the required paperwork packet
  • Upon acceptance, coordinating with SchoolTalk staff to schedule coaching sessions with the school’s team. The educator is not expected to attend the coaching sessions.
  • Educator liaisons will receive a gift card in thanks for their support.

Educators must contact Jeremiah Islar by email at dcyln@schooltalkdc.org  or by phone at 202-638-9796 to request the application by Friday, March 5, 2021.

Questions and Contact Info
If you have any questions or would like to request accommodations in the application process, please contact Jeremiah Islar by email at dcyln@schooltalkdc.org  or by phone at 202-638-9796.


Logo - D.C. Department on Disability Services (DDS)Logo - D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE)Logo - VSA - The Kennedy Center. This program is provided under a contract with the John F. Kenned Center for the Performing Arts 2020-2021School Talk’s Voices of Change Conference is funded by the D.C. Department of Disability Services, the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.