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The Laguna Playhouse Receives Funding from Bank of America for the Our Stories Outreach Program

The Laguna Playhouse Receives Funding from Bank of America for the Our Stories Outreach Program

This vital program targets underserved individuals, primarily Transitional Age Youth (TAY) 16 – 24, who have experienced dire life experiences.

Laguna Playhouse has received support from Bank of America for the Our Stories program for the third consecutive year. Bank of America has voiced its support of this mental wellness outreach program that seeks to improve the lives of local underserved youth.

Laguna Playhouse launched the Our Stories program the beginning of 2020. This vital program targets underserved individuals, primarily Transitional Age Youth (TAY) 16 - 24, who have experienced dire life experiences such as homelessness, domestic violence, foster care, and debilitating illnesses. Our Stories engages with participants to create original creative works using their own life experiences as inspiration and catalyst for healing and change.

The Our Stories program encompasses workshops, intensives, special events, presentations, youth theatre productions, and mental health panel discussions to reach and engage with youth and young adults. The Our Stories workshops and intensives are led by specially trained teaching artists and are monitored by mental health counselors and program managers. The Playhouse teaching artists use various exercises and prompts to create a space of safe self-expression of each individual's story, ensuring that each participant feels validated and empowered in the process. The participants share their story through a variety of artistic methods including playwriting, dance, spoken word, music, and visual arts. Through the isolation and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic this initiative has provided an essential tool for promoting mental wellness in the midst of a mental health crisis.

Due to support from Bank of America and others, Laguna Playhouse was able to form partnerships with over 30 community organizations who serve at-risk youth and young adults. A few of the organizations who have partnered with the Laguna Playhouse this year to serve their clients with the Our Stories program are Laura's House, Project Kinship, Latino Health Access, Save Our Youth, Orangewood Foundation, Orange County Rescue Mission, OC Youth Center, Los Alamitos Youth Center, Project Hope Alliance, and Vera's Sanctuary. The Playhouse has ultimately served over 2,000 local individuals through these partnerships. At the completion of the sessions the participants are given resources for mental health professionals who will assist them with achieving an improved level of mental and behavioral health.

Through this funding the Playhouse will continue to provide the Our Stories program with community organization partners, serving 2000 at-risk individuals again this year. Through increased funding the Playhouse will work to expand the outreach of this innovative program to individuals outside of the TAY demographic, ultimately sharing it with those experiencing incarceration, elementary and middle school aged children, and individuals in hospice and skilled nursing facilities.

Joe Alanas, Director of Education & Outreach for the Laguna Playhouse said "The Our Stories program is instrumental for strengthening the mental health and well-being of underserved and at-risk youth in our community. The Laguna Playhouse is immensely grateful to Bank of America for their support of this very pivotal program."

"The arts can be a transformational force for healing a community and helping to connect us," said Allen Staff, president, Bank of America, Orange County. "Laguna Beach Playhouse continues to do great work with its Our Stories project, bringing positive, lasting impacts on the well-being of older teens and young adults. We're proud to support this important program."

For more information on the Our Stories outreach program contact Laguna Playhouse Community Outreach Manager Erin O'Flaherty at eoflaherty@lagunaplayhouse.com or (949) 500 - 0508. Website: https://lagunaplayhouse.com/education-community-engagement/our-stories/

ABOUT LAGUNA PLAYHOUSE

Founded in 1920, the historic Laguna Playhouse is one of the oldest continuously operating not-for-profit theatres on the West Coast and is proud to be an active participant in the celebrated Laguna Beach arts community. From classic plays and musical comedies to the current off-Broadway smash, Laguna Playhouse brings the magical experience of the performing arts direct to over 100,000 patrons each season.

Laguna Playhouse educational programming includes year-round classes, productions by and for children and teens (Youth Theatre) and is one of the few companies in the region that offer a curriculum-based professional theatre-touring program, TheatreReach, which aligns with the California State Standards for literature, history and performing arts curriculum.

Laguna Playhouse has been recognized for the past five years as one of Orange County Register's "Best of OC" in the category of Live Theatre. The Laguna Playhouse has featured many talented performers on stage, including Ed Asner, Leslie Caron, Hershey Felder, Melanie Griffith, Val Kilmer, Gregory Harrison, and Dan Lauria to name just a few.

Laguna Celebrates 100 Years! at www.lagunaplayhouse.com.



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