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Our Stories Matter: Empowering LA To Connect Through Storytelling

PLUS ME Project

Nonprofit

PLUS ME Project will empower LA by providing the opportunity to CONNECT through the art of storytelling. Our team will recruit diverse adult volunteers and coordinate classroom visits throughout LA for them to share their stories with middle and high school students. We will host monthly story building training sessions for our volunteers and organize quarterly storytelling mixers where volunteers, students, and the public will have the opportunity to interact, inspire, and listen to each other's stories.



Please describe the mission of your organization.

PLUS ME Project believes everyone has a story that matters. We are a community partner dedicated to empowering middle and high school youth to increase their confidence for college, career, and community advancement by teaching the art of storytelling.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • City of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

  • GEAR UP 4 LA

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

GEAR UP 4 LA will support PLUS ME Project in ensuring we always have classrooms available that will host our volunteer guest speakers throughout the 2020 - 2021 school year.

GEAR UP 4 LA works with over 35 middle and high schools throughout Los Angeles. This allows us to implement our storytelling project to thousands of students. Through this collaboration, we may also have the opportunity to host some of our quarterly mixers at their schools to allow more students and community members to attend and CONNECT.

In addition, GEAR UP 4 LA will support us in recruiting volunteers throughout their alumni network of current college students, educator lists, and overall parent community.

What is the need you’re responding to?

Human connection is a necessity. Unfortunately, loneliness rates are on the rise. According to Cigna in 2020, at least 61% of adults in America feel disconnected, isolated, or alone.

We believe the best way to respond to this dilemma is to embrace the art of storytelling and help LA connect with each other through their own stories. We have more in common than we realize. We are resilient beings. That’s why, we believe it is important for us to provide space and resources to help humans inspire each other with their own wisdom.

By mobilizing hundreds of volunteers in our communities to craft their stories and share them with youth throughout our city, we are providing the opportunity for adults to share their life experiences and teenagers the opportunity to learn and connect with new positive role models.

Our goal is to ensure more adults and teens in LA feel less alone by unlocking the power within their own stories and empowering them to share their resiliency with each other.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

PLUS ME Project has become an industry leading organization in LA known for helping youth and adults realize their stories matter. Since 2013, PLUS ME has impacted over 90,000 students throughout the city with inspirational storytelling programming. Our organization has built curriculum and resources that are used by over 15,000 students and adults annually.

Since 2017, each year PLUS ME has successfully completed our 100 Volunteers, 100 Stories campaign by recruiting, training, and scheduling 100 volunteers to share their stories with youth throughout LA on one day. Over the past 3 years, this initiative has strengthened, grown interest, and impacted thousands.

With our previous success, our goal is to expand upon everything we have learned from the past three years and implement a new model that connects, inspires, and empowers thousands throughout our city. We strongly believe that everyone has a story that matters and we want to use this project to help ensure LA realizes it.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

500
Direct impact
11,000
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Our city will need immense social support and our residents will be yearning for motivational connection after this social distancing period ends. Our proposal will impact the future of our city by not only increasing rates of adult volunteerism across LA, but also by connecting and motivating thousands of individuals from multiple generations through their stories.

The storytelling celebration events that we will host across our city will bring together our volunteer storytellers, middle and high school youth, and any guest who wishes to attend. These events will remind us how resilient, empathetic, and diverse we are as a city - inspiring a ripple effect that will create deeper connections, less isolation, and remind us that we matter.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Our vision for success is for more people in LA to feel connected by increasing their social and emotional support through storytelling and for them to feel empowered by choosing to volunteer and share their stories with youth. The project will create a powerful ripple effect which will be both seen and felt.

We will measure our success by asking all of our volunteers, students, and community attendees to complete a survey or interview to help us gauge the impact of our three metrics. Overall, we want LA to feel (1) more empowered by increasing volunteerism rates, (2) more engaged by providing access to social and emotional support, and (3) more connected by meeting new Angelenos at public art and cultural events.

By the end of June 2021, we will have successfully accomplished the following: At least 500 adults volunteers will have participated in storytelling training and shared their stories with middle and high school youth throughout LA. At least 10,000 students will learn about the powerful art of storytelling and engage with inspirational role models. At least 500 people will have attended our free, public storytelling events and connected with fellow Angelenos.

These experiences can help people feel united and less alone. Our success will be demonstrated through the data we receive and with a video showing how our project helped make LA a better place to CONNECT.

Which of the connect metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Social and emotional support
  • Public arts and cultural events
  • Volunteerism

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Host public events or gatherings
  • Strategy assistance and implementation

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