For those of you on our e-mail list who are not on our regular mailing list, we want to share the following letter with you. And for those of you who have already made a donation in response to this letter, we thank you for your support.
Passion for Storytelling Through Film
Immediately when I walked in I could sense the creativity, safety and love
that Everett Company School and Stage fosters. At the time I was a freshmen at a
private high school in East Greenwich where I didn’t necessarily fit in with the
affluent suburban majority. Desperate for a place where I could be myself, I found
Everett. I started out at Everett hoping to become a world famous hip-hop dancer
under the direction of hip-hop instructor Sokeo Ros. While the classes certainly
improved my dance moves, by the first show it became clear to me that I should try
something else. The next year I changed schools to Classical High so I was able to
attend Everett everyday. I was into theater, so I started the improv classes that
Everett offered. If you’ve ever tried improv then you know what ridiculous, amazing, pain
relieving fun it can be. If you have never tried improv, well, I feel bad for you. The
good news is that it is never too late to start! I fell in love with improvisation to the
point where I would teach my friends at school and have them all playing
“questions” during down time in math.
I soon started the mentorship program where we would get together and
create stories. I can still remember Aaron’s relaxation speech as we lay on the floor
in a group thinking about our writing prompt for the day. The stories we wrote and
shared with one another brought us all closer to each other, at the same time
inspiring us all to dig deeper and articulate our truths. We acted out our stories and
made short films that we would produce and edit. During this time I realized my
passion for storytelling through film. When it was time to apply to colleges, I had to
make a film to send along to the film programs I wanted to get into. The film I
decided to make was a personal documentary about my unsuccessful relationship
with my father. Everett supported me through every step, and even paired me with
a professional video mentor. The film featured interviews with my father and
myself, as well as other family members discussing the reasons why my father was
absent from my life, and how to make the situation better. The film premiered at
Everett as well as on YouTube and the response I got was amazing. People truly
related to my story. It was the responses from this film that inspired me to continue
writing and producing films.
Everett noticed my passion for film and improv and allowed me to teach
classes through different programs. Not only did Everett give me the content
knowledge to teach these classes, but they also supported me in giving me teaching
techniques and conflict resolution ideas. Because of their support with giving me the
tools to be a great teacher, I was able to consistently get jobs involving teaching arts
including running my own film program at Community Preparatory School in
Providence, Fayerweather School in Cambridge, the Everett Summer Camp and
work with the Central Falls School district.
I went on to earn a BFA in film production from Emerson College in 2012. For
my BFA project I made a film called Got You. Got You is a story of a young girl who
discovers that her mother is having thoughts of suicide. Got You won the “women in
film” award at the 2013 Emerson Los Angeles Film Festival and was screened at the
2013 Cannes Short film corner, the “No Time Left” film festival in Paris, France, and
at the Council of Social Work Education film festival.
After graduating college I started to substitute teach in the Providence School
system. Because of Everett, teaching is a passion of mine that I plan to pursue. I am
currently in the masters of urban education program at Providence College and will
get my teaching certification soon. As a teacher I will make it a priority to integrate
the arts into my classroom, as I believe art can be a part of every subject in school. I
also plan to continue making my films and hope that they can continue to touch
people and promote thought and conversation.
I’ve tried to think about what my life would have been like without Everett
but it is hard because I don’t want to. I suppose there are many places where you
can learn different art forms, but above all the arts, Everett taught me self-worth,
self-confidence, and the skills to chase my dreams.
Everett Alum Shines on International Stage
My name is Anisha Gibbs and I am a proud family member of Everett! I started as a student over 10 years ago and in that time I became an artist, developing my talents and skills, which have led me to where I am today: Japan! Teaching the art that I love most…dance! Dance is universal and speaks all languages, one of the many things I’ve learned at Everett. As a high school kid, trying to find my way and my voice was difficult. I didn’t have any outlets in or after school until one day that changed my life forever. By word of mouth, I heard about Everett and a fellow upper classmate invited me to check it out.
I still remember today exactly how I felt when I walked in. My eyes light up like a happy puppy wagging its tail. I saw hip-hop live, up-close and raw. That’s when I knew this magical place would change my life! I tell every young person I meet about my first experience at Everett and introduce them. Every person with a passion and a dream should have a place to learn and create. With your love and support, we can keep passing down our wisdom and knowledge to the younger generations.
At Everett, I worked my way up the ladder. I attended all of the different dance classes from break dancing to ballet to hip-hop. If they had it I was there! In 2004, Sokeo Ros and I co-founded the hip-hop crew called Case Closed! We performed and taught workshops, reaching our inner city young. We touched so many lives and you can, too, by helping us further this movement.
Once I graduated from college, I received a wonderful opportunity to travel the world as a dancer and choreographer for celebrity hip-hop artists, but I wouldn’t have been able to do that without the help of Everett’s media and film department. They helped me film and edit a dance reel and interview that I submitted for the opportunity that I thought was a one in a million chance. Since then I have traveled around the world twice, seeing places like Africa, France, Switzerland, Germany and Singapore, just to name a few. And now I’m living in Japan for a month, teaching and spreading Everett’s wisdom internationally. Help make our youth’s dreams become a reality by donating from your heart. I am living proof that with Everett’s open arms and genuine people like yourselves, dreams do come true.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me a place that I can call home. Your generosity will be appreciated and put to use by amazing dream-catchers like myself!
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Thank you for supporting Everett! Your tax-deductible contribution helps Everett’s Company, Stage and School bring quality art and education programs to thousands of people each year.