Special thanks to ROI-NJ for featuring Shadae McDaniel, City Leader of the All Stars Project New Jersey.

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Shadae McDaniel: All Stars Project helps Newark’s youth through everything from improv to meetings with CEOs

In the heart of Newark, down from the Museum of Art and across from Washington Park, is a most unusual community center — a 9,000-square foot space that houses the Newark chapter of the All Stars Project. The organization has been in the city for two decades and in its current space for the past six years. It has helped thousands of residents of all ages find their place in the world through a unique definition of development.

“For us, development is a way where people can see and actually act on opportunities,” city leader Shadae McDaniel said. “And what we do here that’s really special is that we bring people together who typically would never come together.”

Once those Newark residents are involved in the program, McDaniel and her team help develop them by teaching improvisational skills, which they use literally (there is performance art) and figuratively (they are taught how to handle situations in their personal and work worlds).

“Our work is really grounded in using performance and improv as a way for people to see each other in new ways,” McDaniel said. “And we show them how improv, the idea of building on and accepting offers, allows them to survive and flourish in any situation.”

Most of the programs are geared toward teenagers, with the goal of opening doors for them.

Including in the work world.

The program has a second component that brings inner-city kids into the boardrooms of top companies, enabling them to see a future they may not have imagined. These visits can lead to a coveted summer internship. Click Here to read the full article.