YourWords STL

A Note To Educators

This lesson plan unit is a companion piece to the original collaborative performance We Own Our Future, which features the hopes, dreams, and struggles of St. Louis youth. The unit includes prior knowledge, a discussion guide, creative projects, and more. These materials are provided for free, as we aim to ensure as many other young people as possible benefit from the powerful words featured in this performance. Please reach out to us to request the performance's link.


Teachers, thank you for taking interest in sharing the original, collaborative performance We Own Our Future with your students. 


Who We Are: We are YourWords STL, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that uses tutoring, creative writing workshops, and collaborative projects to help amplify the voices of St. Louis youth. We are committed to bridging racial, cultural, and economic divides by honing young people's abilities to tell their stories while providing opportunities for the community to listen. Since 2015, we have published seven chapbooks of student writing, hosted multiple community events, and touched the lives of more than 2,000 young people (averaging 180 youth annually).


About the Event: One of YWSTL's continuing efforts is to facilitate public performances based on student work. Aligned to this goal, the St. Louis community had the chance to hear the hopes, dreams, and struggles of youth during We Own Our Future. This collaborative event involved YWSTL, MBU Theatre, and Dream Builders 4 Equity. Livestream access was available Friday and Saturday, March 26-27, and an in-person, socially distance talkback took place on MBU's campus Friday evening. The youth of DB4E wrote the script, with YWSTL providing writing coaching and inter-organizational communication and MBU Theatre bringing the work to life. The YouTube link included in your e-mail features the original film as well as Friday's talkback.


About These Materials: The purpose of these materials is to provide educators with a structure for showing this performance to your students as well as engaging with its content and themes in meaningful, impactful ways. While we have designed these materials to fit into upper middle school or early high school classrooms, we hope you will adapt these materials as needed to maximize engagement in your unique classrooms. With some slight modifications, we believe this performance can and should be shown to as wide of an age group as possible.


Seeking Future Partners: If you are an educator who is passionate about bringing unifying, amplifying work like this into your own classroom, we invite you to reach out to us! YWSTL is currently in the process of finalizing its programming and partners for the 2021-22 school year as well as beyond. Please reach out to us at any time to share your thoughts, feedback, suggestions, or interest in bringing our programming into your institution or organization.



You can find our complete lesson plan here:

We Own Our Future Lesson Plan