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Infinite Earth Radio – weekly conversations with leaders building smarter, more sustainable, and equitable communities - Michael Hancox EPISODE 86
Ethnodrama and Youth Leadership
00:00:00 00:21:06

Ethnodrama and Youth Leadership


Inviting People to Share Their Stories

In This Episode:

[01:26] Guests Sahdiyah Simpson and Sarah Hobson are introduced.

[01:39] Sarah describes Community Allies, ethnodrama, and the STL Youth Smart Growth Leaders program.

[04:40] Sahdiyah shares her experience with the STL Youth Smart Growth Leaders program.

[05:59] Sahdiyah states what her topic was.

[06:19] Sarah explains the mechanics of the program.

[07:38] Sahdiyah talks about the time commitment required for the program.

[08:47] Sarah provides how the program makes difficult conversations easier to have.

[10:49] Sahdiyah gives her thoughts about the drama part of the program.

[12:00] Are the drama performances used as a tool to help people understand what those in the program learned?

[14:12] Sahdiyah tells about her school.

[15:09] Why would this program be valuable in schools or communities that aren’t doing something like this?

[18:18] Sarah states how people can learn more about her work.

Guest and Organization:

Dr. Sarah Hobson, founder and President of Community Allies, LLC. received her Ph.D. in Reading, Writing, and Literacy from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. She served as an Assistant Professor in Adolescence English Education at The State University of New York at Cortland where she taught courses in language acquisition, grammar, the teaching of writing, and digital literacies. She is currently teaching literacy assessment at the University of Missouri St. Louis.

Educational institutions are products of systemic policies that for years have contributed to various discriminatory practices that affect youth and communities similarly and differently. Dr. Hobson’s ethnodramatic programming, researched for over 10 years, helps youth acquire sophisticated understandings of societal processes that hinder progress. Throughout the programming, youth gain communication skills that help them begin to interrupt these practices as they learn where and how they can advocate for themselves and others. Schools and communities in turn access new ways of learning from youth the ethical complexities they have inherited. As students use their research to teach others, administrators, teachers, parents, and communities access much-needed healing.Dr. Hobson’s ethnodrama programs are multi-faceted. They are the result of years of teaching and research and must be implemented with multi-dimensional educational knowledge and care. They require institutional support, staff support, careful collaborative research and documentation, and constant reflection and interrogation. When implemented with the right support and investment, they help transform institutionalized cultures, opening up new possibilities for teaching and learning that expand youth, teacher, and administrator agency and advocacy.

Community Allies is available to school districts, educational leaders, administrators, teachers, parents, and students for short or long-term mentoring of educators in culturally relevant, student-centered curriculum enrichment. Our mentoring comes in a variety of formats primarily focused in two areas: professional development for administrators and teachers and after-school programs for students. We help you integrate student-centered real-world research into any grade, school-wide inquiry, or subject area. We help you increase student retention, academic and college and career success through dynamic, real-world literacy learning opportunities.

Take Away Quotes:

“The mission of Community Allies is to bring people together across the county and the city…as part of that program, I’ve done after-school programs focused on ethnodrama, which is a program around which students become youth leaders by collecting a variety of stories and using those stories to open power-packed conversations in their communities about issues that are really pertinent to their lives.”—Sarah

“The program is about…us talking about what we would like to change in St. Louis, what we saw in St. Louis that we think could be better. And so, then, we started getting into our topics that we really wanted to do, then we started interviewing people and seeing what they had to say about it.”—Sahdiyah

“The program really helped me start to really talk about sensitive topics…I wasn’t the type of person to talk about sensitive topics; I would steer away from that ‘cause it would make me uncomfortable. Now I’ve gotten more comfortable with it, and I haven’t really stood up for certain things like this, but now I’m starting to. I’m starting to get more into it because of that program.”—Sahdiyah  


Community Allies, LLC

ioby Campaign

Local Government Commission

2018 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference — February 1-3, 2018