This fall, Boston-area high schoolers with a passion for the arts will be returning to the classroom with some new job and leadership skills under their belts.
City Spotlights Leadership Program is a youth employment program run by Citi Performing Arts Center. Each summer, teenagers with a love for music, dance, and theater are hired to work 25 hours a week and trained to be leaders in their neighborhood.
"We are really looking for teens based on passion and their commitment to cultivating their leadership skills and their commitment to changing their neighborhoods and communities to make them a better place," said Corey Evans, Senior Director of Education for Citi Performing Arts Center.
One powerful component to the program is social justice. Students get a chance to use their voices and fight for what they believe in.
"We feel like as teens, because we are young, we have no voice. And arts always catches people's attention," said Betsaida Marcel, a 16-year-old who goes to Match High School.
Teenagers catch that attention in many ways, including fighting for arts funding at the Massachusetts State House with song and performing flash mobs in the heart of Boston.
"Ever since I got here it's been amazing. Every day is just, I'm so energized," said Jahkai Davis, age 19.
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"I've become more confident in myself and who I am in like my own skin and as just me," Marcel said.
"This program changes their lives. And you can see it and you can feel it," said Joe Spaulding, President and CEO of Citi Performing Arts Center.
The talented students with City Spotlights are gearing up for their final showcase. It is set for Thursday, August 11, at 5:30pm at Boston's Shubert Theatre. The event is free and open to the public.