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Jill Gurr is a Hollywood screenwriter. In the aftermath of the LA riots in 1992, Jill volunteered to mentor children. She discovered the power of creative expression in changing children’s lives.
Founder and Executive Director of Create Now, Jill has devoted the last fifteen years of her life to mentoring more than fifty at-risk and high-risk youth. Through Create Now, the nonprofit organization that she founded in 1996, Jill has matched hundreds of mentors with thousands of troubled children in the Los Angeles and Orlando regions.
On today’s episode of Giving Warriors, Jill speaks about the power of art and expression to transform lives. She talks about children who have come out of poverty because they have discovered art as an outlet.
She tells us that art is important, and it’s time for the world to listen.
IN THE CONVERSATION, YOU WILL LEARN:
~Can a workshop transform lives?: LA is a glamour centre. But most people don’t see the other side – poverty, homelessness, crime. 18 years ago, Jill started Create Now. Today, she tells us why.
~High Impact: Music, writing, visual arts, performing arts, and a program called Artistic Journey are the heart of Create Now. These programs have reached 85,000 children in 18 years.
~ “We’re like a dating service!”: Create Now is a volunteer based organization with a data-base of 95 partner agencies. Each volunteer is matched to youth in need, in their neighborhood.
Jill gives us an insight into the operations of Create Now.
~ The Forgotten Children: Create Now serves children aged 2 to 21 years who are abused, neglected, abandoned, orphaned, are left homeless, runaways, teen parents, substance abusers, victims of domestic violence, children of prisoners, gang members or incarcerated.
~ What We Do: Workshops at the organization range from those that teach children how to behave in a job interview, to hip hop sessions, theatre programs and writing a newsletter.
Jill Gurr explains the different facets of Create Now.
~ Therapeutic Art: Jill Gurr speaks about the positive outlet that music or writing gives to children who have never been able to express themselves freely.
This puts them on an equal footing with peers who may be academically advanced. Create Now uncovers a mass of talent in every child.
~ Teach Them Early: Jill Gurr explains the importance of Create Now – to provide children with the life skills they need, to live independently.
~ The Arts Matter – Create Now’s Biggest Challenge: Funding the organization through grants is a problem. During recession, the arts are the first thing to be cut from educational institutions. Jill explains why the arts matter – the arts are life saving.
~ The Future is Now: With Create a City Now, a workshop to create their own city with recycled material, children and families learn about civic engagement, planning and recycling. Another project, a graphic design workshop teaches children how to use digital art.
Create Now is using technology to help children create job opportunities in the arts, and remove them from poverty.
Jill knows that giving back gives her a purpose in life. She has grown, faced and overcome challenges, and is able to share her story with people all around the world. She feels that it is wonderful to understand the meaning of a global community.
Giving Warriors means…
Warrior is a powerful word. You’re willing to go to war to get something done, and giving is the mission.
Mentor Youth Now: A Guidebook For Transforming Young Lives by Jill Curr
Adventures with the Crystal Skulls by Jill Curr
Dolphin Healing by Jill Curr
CONNECT WITH JILL:
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