Thursday, February 26, 2015

How The Possibility Project builds leaders in our community

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 3:08 PM

Editor's Note: This story is a part of an ongoing series about the local nonprofit world, thanks to a partnership with Give N Go. Give N Go's mission is to support established and emerging nonprofits by providing them with the tools to promote their causes effectively through traditional and nontraditional marketing.

Mildred D. Taylor, author of children’s books Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry and The Land, once said, “So many things are possible as long as you don’t know they are impossible." This quote is the basis of what the nonprofit organization The Possibility Project stands for.

TPP is a leadership organization that focuses on making young people aware of their potential as community activists through performing arts. In its 14th year, managing and artistic director Nikkeia Wiler and her staff have focused on ways to give 50-60 teens per year, ages 13-19, an outlet to foster and enhance their creativity while focusing on utilizing their voices as socially responsible young adults.

TPP’s approach covers three basic points: awareness, arts and action. The full-year program culminates with a performance which is fully produced by the teens. (This year's takes place May 29-30 at Spirit Square’s McGlohon Theater. Visit for ticket information).

Wiler and assistant director Allen Bosbyshell, who is also an alum of the program, take the teens through 16 weeks of cultural activities that explore and discuss societal themes and concerns. These workshops are designed to refine their leadership qualities; to increase their understanding of cross-cultural issues; and to develop the participants’ ownership in creating the future.

TPP’s strength is in its diversity, which is the root of such a dynamic and creative performance that is based on the real life experiences of the teens. To provide a look into the diversity of the organization, Give N Go interviewed a few of the teens involved. They were asked two simple questions: what have you learned from the diversity experience of working with so many different types of people? And what are you inspired to do that you may not have believed was possible before being a part of TPP?

First was Jaena Palmer, an outgoing junior from South Mecklenburg High School in her third season with TPP. “When working with so many different types of people from different races and backgrounds, you learn that they all go through the same things that I go through and you also get exposure to all different types of cultures," she said. “TPP has inspired me to use my voice. My generation are the future leaders and using our voice is important to have our own opinion and expressing it to all types of people.”

Next we spoke to the multi-talented Germaine Moss, a senior at Hopewell High School who is in his second year with TPP. “My outlook on life has changed," he said. "I no longer think that I have to be surrounded by people who look, dress, and think like me.” He also highlighted that he has used the inspiration in his passion for music. “What I try to do is write music that is going to touch someone or inspire someone to not give up as I was going to give up, but TPP helped me through that by giving me motivation and confidence to do what I wanted to do.”

Ansley Sloan is a first-year TPPer who is in her sophomore year at Southpoint High School. “Being a part of this group lets me know that I am not alone in the emotional things that we deal with as teens along with the opportunity to learn so much about all other cultures,” she said. “My voice can inspire other people to use their voice to join me in making a difference in our schools, the city we live in and even on a national level if we really try. In order to do so, we have to start with ourselves and erase all of our stereotypes, then we can move on to other people.”

Lastly, we had spoke with the energetic Shakate Behling, who is in her second year with TPP and a student at Garinger High School. “One thing I picked up by working with TPP and its diversity is learning how to treat all people equally," she said. "I’ve realized that we are all the same, so it is important to treat others that way. Everyone has an opinion, but may not be strong enough to voice it. I’ve always had strong beliefs, but was scared to voice it. Now through TPP I’ve learned to speak up and voice my thoughts without letting others speak over me or talk me out of my beliefs.”

TPP engaging a standing room only crowd at the Harvey B. Gantt Center on MLK day.
  • TPP engaging a standing room only crowd at the Harvey B. Gantt Center on MLK day.

Give N Go’s flagship program Start Something had the amazing opportunity to be apart of TPP’s MLK day program at the Harvey B. Gantt Center. TPP performed excerpts from their show, Know Justice, Know Peace, along with facilitating roundtable discussions with the standing room only group of Charlotte residents that ranged from pre-teen to what appeared to be grandparents

It is obvious that TPP is building a group of confident, proud, and socially responsible individuals that will undoubtedly make their mark on society.

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