Photo caption: Najeé Eddy (left) and Keniya Brown (right) participate with the Jefferson Academy Ensemble in the 2015 Voices of Now Festival at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater on May 14. 

Photo by Cameron Whitman Photography

Have you ever had the one program, that one sport, one activity that not only improved you as a person but has also brought you closer to your true passion?
 I have and this phenomenal program is called Voices of Now. In this program people are not only taught to work together as a whole but they are taught to progress. Through this, all their work is shown in a well maintained organization that expresses everyone’s creativity, a play!

Many people assumed that you had to be a certain way to participate in Voices of Now. However, this is an assumption and it is totally untrue; Voices of Now welcomes people from different backgrounds and uses them to unite all kinds of different people as one beautifully successful group.

During the three months, Voices of Now members become family. 
There are by far too huge and dynamic things that make Voices of Now the place to be in middle school or in any chapter of your life for that matter. Number one is the constant traces of love and excitement. In Voices of Now there is always an unconditional amount of love, freedom, and support. In Voices of Now there are people who genuinely care about me. I find it incredibly hard to stay down or in a funk. This quality makes the area of Voices of Now homey and also makes the group members feel safe.

As much of importance as having the love of Voices of Now, you are also treated with pride and responsibility. You are expected to exceed the expectations of having the respect and accountability of a young adult. These expectations may sound very authoritative, however these expectations are a set only to be exceeded by those who can grow to be able to show amiable behaviors.

As a sixth grader whose life has in fact been changed due to the fact that I am a part of Voices of Now, I would most definitely recommend it to any age group if they’re interested in theater. I would especially recommend Voices of Now to sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. These grades are singularly important because they are the grades when you make the biggest decisions of your life. Sixth grade being the first and smallest grade in middle school is one of the hardest. It is where you transition from childish play to the strict and serious middle school you’ve only heard about until now! Sixth grade is when you learn to adapt with teachers and peers. And it is one of the biggest transitions in life.
 Seventh grade is that awkward point between sixth grade, where you have just learned to abide by the new strict rules, and eighth grade, where yet again you will have to adapt to a new stricter law.
 Eighth grade is where you’re almost an adult yet still unsure where you belong and through all this you are transitioning to a new and different environment. Voices of Now helps with all these transitions because it is a program that will ground you and help you find things about yourself that you’ve never known.

Overall my experience in Voices of Now has been exceptional. I find that I have grown as a person in just a short period of time and that I have matured and learned how to sample professional work.

By: Keniya Brown

Jefferson Academy Middle School sixth grade student

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