STUDIO CITY (CBS) — Laura Leigh Hughes of the Unusual Suspects Theatre Company appeared on KCAL9 News on Saturday morning to discuss the group which has transformed the lives of at-risk youth and under-served communities.
The group, which was created in response to the 1992 L.A. Riots, provides mentors, teaching artists and volunteers to help the youth write and perform plays for their community and other audience members.
For many of the participants, Hughes explains, the experience is their first on stage.
“It’s a way of reaching the kids through theater is a way that comes at them. So much more occurs than just writing a play. They’re being empowered, they’re getting a voice,” she said.
“Through the program, they really become leaders in the community. They’re dealing with so many issues of gang violence and domestic violence and teen pregnancy and drugs and stuff like that. So this is a way they can actually become leaders in their community and make a difference, and speak out and talk about what they’re going through and solve some of those issues and build self esteem,” she added.
In 2008, the group was awarded the National Arts and the Humanities Youth Program Award (formerly Coming Up Taller), which Hughes says is one of the highest honors in the country for after school arts programs.
To learn more, visit the group’s website.