Episode 49: Youth Community Built on Firsts


Julie Lichtenberg, Director of The Performance Project, and Artistic Director of First Generation Ensemble, discusses their approach to creative youth development work, including their commitment to inclusion and peer mentoring.

The Performance Project’s First Generation brings together young adults ages 14-23 for intensive artistic training, leadership development, and inter-generational mentoring. Forming an artistic ensemble, the First Generation youth create original multi-lingual physical theater performances based on their discoveries.

Julie LichtenbergJulie Lichtenberg, cultural activist, theater and visual artist, has worked in community settings as a teacher, performer, and director, incorporating visual art and physical theater since 1980. She has taught graduate and undergraduate visual art, performed with Beholders Puppet Theater, studied physical theater with Tony Montanero, Sigfrido Aguilar in Mexico, and collaborated with Teatro Mito y Realidad in Chicago.
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Episode 40: Ancient Dance Emboldens Youth’s Future


For 30 years, Angkor Dance Troupe has been a creative youth development leader in Lowell, MA, a city with the second-largest Cambodian population in the United States. Angkor connects families to what it means to be Khmer, gives young people opportunity, and shares beautiful stories of the Khmer people and their cultural heritage.

Linda Sou was there from day one. At the age of three, she began her training with Angkor Dance Troupe and would grow up to become its executive director. She shares what it means to preserve and share a nearly-lost art form.

Linda Sopheap SouLinda Sopheap Sou finds tremendous pride in the City of Lowell and champions efforts around youth development, community coalition building, and cultural preservation and innovation. A daughter to Cambodian refugees, Linda was born and raised in Lowell and currently resides in the Centralville neighborhood with her partner, Steven Flynn.

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Episode 35: Rooted in Arts, Activism, and Social Justice


Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, Ph.D., is the CEO of IBA-Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción, a community development corporation dedicated to empowering individuals through education, workforce development, and arts programs. She shares IBA’s holistic approach to youth development and how the arts unleash the collective power and voice of the young people they serve.

Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, Ph.D.Vanessa Calderón-Rosado, Ph.D., is the CEO of IBA-Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción, a community development corporation dedicated to empowering individuals through education, workforce development and arts programs, and to creating vibrant affordable housing communities. Through her leadership, IBA has become the largest Latino-led nonprofit organization in Greater Boston.

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Episode 34: Why is a Social Service Agency Running a Classical Music Program?


Berkshire Children & Families (BCF), a social service agency serving Western Massachusetts, believes that partnering with families is the best way to promote healthy, happy children to make strong families and better communities. Carolyn Mower Burns, President and CEO, shared how through Kids 4 Harmony, an intensive classical music program for social change, BCF uses musical excellence as a vehicle for developing whole children and whole families.

Since this conversation was recorded, Massachusetts has lost a tremendous advocate for creative youth development. Carolyn passed in the Fall of 2016. She is missed.

Carolyn Mower BurnsCarolyn Mower Burns, LICSW, was recognized as a leader and champion for community-centered programs to strengthen children and families.  Prior to her death in the Fall of 2016, Carolyn presided over Berkshire Children and Families (BCF) for 27 years forging a legacy of leadership and innovation.  BCF is one of the most comprehensive family service agencies in Western MA, providing cutting-edge programs that create lasting opportunity for children and their families in Berkshire County and the Pioneer Valley.
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Episode 28: Empowering Youth to Fix the World Around Them


Enchanted Circle Theater is a community-based arts organization in Holyoke, MA, that works with students, teachers, and social services – in the mental health field, in the foster care world, everywhere and anywhere – using theater arts as a dynamic teaching tool. Executive Director Priscilla Kane Hellweg says they’re developing whole human beings, who can think creatively, act creatively, and solve problems creatively.

Priscilla Kane HellwegPriscilla Kane Hellweg is the Executive Director of Enchanted Circle Theater (ECT), a non-profit, multi-service arts organization in Holyoke, Massachusetts.  She has written, directed, and performed educational theater, and taught arts integrated curricula extensively throughout New York and New England for over thirty years.  Under Hellweg’s direction, Enchanted Circle has become the regional leader in arts integration, working district-wide in public schools throughout Western Massachusetts, and collaborating with over 60 community partner organizations, developing work that bridges arts, education and human services.
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