The S.T.A.R. Program (Serving Teens through Arts Resources) is an award-winning, nationally recognized, evidence-based, multi-session peer education program, which addresses behaviors related to adolescent emotional and physical health. Featuring an ensemble company trained as peer educators and advocates for young people, this theater-based program introduces the tools necessary to promote positive attitudes, build risk reduction skills, and link youth with health care and social services.
The S.T.A.R. Program was founded in 1989 in response to the escalating, but then unrecognized, HIV/AIDS epidemic among urban youth. For 30 years S.T.A.R.’s edgy, engaging programming with full-length, interactive theater performances and in-depth follow-up facilitation workshops have served more than 2 million young people develop the skills, confidence, and strategies they need to overcome a range of tough health and social issues which include: domestic and gang violence, cyber-bullying, healthy dating relationships, negotiating peer and partner pressure, deciding whether and with whom to have sex, gender roles and stereotypes, teen pregnancy prevention, teen parenting, HIV and STD’s, sexual orientation, and substance use.
S.T.A.R.’s portfolio of age and culturally appropriate interventions address youth from the 5th grade through young adulthood with specifically designed theatrical productions and educational workshops for each developmental level. Through direct service in classrooms and youth agencies each year, S.T.A.R. provides a safe space for vulnerable young people to gain access to health and sexuality information and skills that can change the course of their lives, without the heavy handed, academically oriented "lecture" style of the classroom that they so often reject. Actor/educators (who reflect the age and diversity of our City’s youth) in collaborations with trained facilitators, craft compelling, relatable characters and dramatic material that models healthy alternatives and explore the attitudes, situations and behaviors that put young people at risk. Under the auspices of the United Nations, S.T.A.R.’s founder, Dr. Cydelle Berlin, has shared the S.T.A.R. model widely across Eastern Europe, South Asia and North Africa.