2015 Annual Report: One Spark Lights Another

Creative Facilitation Training fun

Participants perform improv at PYE’s Creative Facilitation Training in Seattle.

Last year was one for the record books. The numbers (and stories) are in and 2015 saw PYE’s impact grow dramatically. Check out our annual report for stories of impact, a global impact map, an overview of key areas of growth, and more.

Thank you to the entire PYE community for helping to make it a year worth celebrating! From our board and creative community facilitators and practitioners to volunteers and training attendees, each one of your lent your spark to this movement–and it’s catching fire around the world.

We welcome you to read the full report at



Teacher: Catch the Fire Training Changed My Classroom

Karen Taylor (right) with a workshop partner at PYE's 2015 Catch the Fire Training

Karen Taylor (right) with a workshop partner at PYE’s 2015 Catch the Fire Training

“The Catch the Fire training redefined the way I view creativity. Being able to experience, first hand, the powerful and authentic community that can be cultivated through artistic exploration has had a profound impact on both my personal and professional life. As a middle school teacher, I have been searching for a way to integrate the arts into my classroom, and this training has evolved my practice in meaningful and measurable ways! I came home from Whidbey Island feeling recharged, empowered and inspired. Having the opportunity to rediscover and increase my own creative confidence was an unexpected gift and an important step in my journey as an educator.

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Video: Light the Spark in Youth

What a year! In schools and with our growing list of partners worldwide, there are more opportunities than ever to unleash power, purpose, and potential in youth in 2016.

Donate and light a spark today. Thank you!

PYE is Hiring! Executive Director (US) Sought

Full time, Salary DOE
Location: Seattle, WA (and surrounding area)
Application Deadline: Rolling

PYE: Partners for Youth Empowerment is seeking a visionary US Executive Director with entrepreneurial zeal to join our small but far reaching team. We’re seeking a leader who understands and can advocate for the powerful role creative expression plays in building confidence, connection, and community—ensuring bright futures and meaningful life paths.

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PYE Profile: Meet Xola Yoyo

xola yoyo

Changemaker Xola Yoyo (Photo: Estepworks)

Xola Yoyo is Founder and Director of Imithayelanga Youth Development in Eastern Cape, South Africa. The organization works with orphaned and vulnerable youth in rural areas. Xola is also a lead facilitator for PYE, and volunteered at the 2015 Power of Hope camp on Whidbey Island.

“My vision for what I was doing with young people fit in perfectly with the Creative Community Model. It starts with the concept that every child needs to be seen and heard. Yes we do talk about the issues that youth face. But I’m not going to come to you and just talk about HIV. I’m not going to talk about teenage pregnancy when I don’t even know who you are. As a youth, how am I going to make positive choices, if I don’t know who I am? There’s nothing to base the choices on. So that’s where we start with the youth: Who are they? Where are they from? And what do they need?”

Creative Community Tip: Ways to Avoid Yelling Over the Crowd

Creative community tip: Quiet the crowd without yelling

Use a drum beat as a call for quiet

How often have you heard yourself or a colleague yell over the crowd to get everyone quiet? Some even use a shrill whistle. You can avoid the jarring effects of yelling by agreeing on ways of quieting the group. We have a few ideas…

  • Have a small percussion instrument on hand. When you rattle the shaker or beat a quiet rhythm on the drum, everyone knows to get quiet.
  • Raise your hand, close your mouth. Ask participants to imagine there is a string hanging from their chins. They take hold of the string with one hand. When they raise their hand up, the imaginary string closes their mouth. In a playful way, ask them to practice a few times. When anyone leading the group wants quiet, they raise their hand. When others see a hand raised they do the same and the room quickly quiets.
  • Have an agreed upon call and response phrase. Your group can come up with their own or you can use something like this: Leader: “And a hush came over the crowd.” Group: “Hushshshshshsh.”

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Cheers to Changemaker Jamie-Rose Edwards

Jamie-Rose Edwards and Y-WE alum Rahwa Ghebremichael

Edwards with Y-WE alum Rahwa Ghebremichael

Seattle Met Magazine recently celebrated the winners of their fourth annual Light a Fire Awards. These honors are given to organizations and individuals who make Seattle—and the world—a better place. The “Emerging Leader” award went to Jamie-Rose Edwards, who founded Young Women Empowered (Y-WE) with PYE’s Peggy Taylor.

Jamie-Rose is an inspirational leader who has led Y-WE through rapid growth over the past five years. A PYE partner that leverages the Creative Community Model, Y-WE offers a seven-month creative leadership program that pairs young women from a wide-range of cultures and backgrounds in the Seattle area with adult mentors. Continue reading

Breaking New Ground in South Africa

PYE facilitator Nadia Chaney with South Africa partners

From left: Facilitator Ella Cooper (PYE and Reel Youth); Linci Abrahams and Xoli Fuyani from Earthchild Project; PYE lead facilitator Nadia Chaney. (See more photos by Ella Cooper below)

When it comes to the Creative Community movement, Cape Town is fertile ground! PYE’s roots continue to grow strong there, along with the work and impact of our amazing South African partners.

Lead facilitator Nadia Chaney, with Ella Cooper (facilitator for PYE and Ella Cooper Creative), recently represented PYE on a five-week whirlwind of transformation in Cape Town and Eastern Cape. The work included two Creative Facilitation trainings, a youth camp in South Africa, an emotional intelligence training with Imithayelanga Youth Development, plus an in-depth training for a team of PYE lead facilitators.

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Thank you, Power of Hope Supporters and Volunteers!

“I am now more brave because of all of you.”
“I felt so protected and cared for.”
“I found my inner self and will be more positive.”
“I will take off the mask that covered who I am.”

Those are just a few quotes from the youth who attended Power of Hope camp on Whidbey Island this summer. Thanks to many mentors, facilitators, supporters, and behind-the-scenes volunteers, 45 young people were part of a truly transformative Creative Community experience.

There isn’t a web page or piece of paper big enough to contain our gratitude. But here’s a little celebration of this amazing community effort.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Heart of Facilitation’s 10th Year: Transform Your Work

HOF grad and director of Camp LEAD in Northern California, Sara Worls.

HOF grad and director of Camp LEAD in Northern California, Sara Worls.

Our tenth annual Heart of Facilitation (HOF) Training is ready for take-off here in the Pacific Northwest! Just a few openings are still available, and filling up fast.

Meeting one weekend a month from November through March, HOF participants delve into both the art of facilitation and the nitty gritty: personal development, leading-edge facilitation skills, program design, effective communication, and equity awareness.

HOF merges the experience of two powerful youth development programs: PYE’s arts empowerment approach and the work of the Portland-based Step Up Program founded by Hanif Fazal. Step Up has a track record of supporting struggling students so they can thrive in high school and beyond.

“Hanif and I have been leading this training once a year for ten years now and each cohort sends ripples of change into the world,” says PYE co-founder Peggy Taylor. “People generally think that great teachers or compelling leaders are just born that way. Actually, it’s a learned skill.”
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Upcoming Trainings

Creative Facilitation 1: East Bay
Oakland, CA, US
Mar 4–5

Creative Facilitation Demo Day: Spain
Barcelona, Spain
Mar 9

Creative Facilitation 1: Seattle
Seattle, WA, US
Mar 31–Apr 1

Art of Facilitation: Ontario
Kingston, ON
Oct 2017–Feb 2018

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