One of the coolest and most underrated nonprofits I know is City at Peace, which uses performing arts as a way of promoting positive development in urban teens. They bring together a diverse group of kids for a year, during which time they mine their lives for stories and compile them into into a big musical production. It’s sort of AmeriCorps meets Theater Camp.Before you roll your eyes, I’ve seen one of their New York performances myself and the show is remarkably moving (and a cut above the standard high school production of Our Town), with true stories of racism, poverty, gangs, body image and sexuality. You can still catch a performance if you’re in New York (last shows this weekend), Los Angeles, Baton-Rouge or Charlotte.But there’s a longer-term effect of City at Peace than a few catchy tunes that get stuck in your head: More kids get their grades up, graduate from high school, and go onto college after having completed the program. These are your future community leaders. Join the roster of big muckety-muck supporters they have, and make a contribution, even if you can’t make the show. –Liz
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