The Positive Project "Playahz" InSpirational Theatre Arts Company
There is a distinct need to focus effort in the areas of youth issues. According to the State Government statistics: Juvenile violent crime increased 282% between 1984 to 1993. Sexual assault increased by 798%, murder, 291%, aggravated assault, 242% and robbery 224%. National statistics show that every 17 seconds someone is murdered in our country and that out of the over 250,000 homicides that occurred last year, two-thirds were committed by juveniles and young adults between the ages of 14 to 24. Young Black males account for over half of these crimes, with the majority of victims being minorities between the ages of 31 to 45. These are horrendous statistics that speak clearly to the fact that our youth, families and communities are dying a “death by lethal rejection”, by consistently rejecting the fact that a community-wide problem exists, and counting on government, law and educational agencies to come up with solutions, communities have felt powerless for decades to act on their own behalf.
During the spring of 1994, a series of murders that were committed by youths occurred, and after the senseless death of Levi Perry, Jr., who was slain while jogging in a Houston park, Elder Willie A. Alston, Jr., tired of seeing good men die for no good reason, decided it was time to do something about it. In June of 1994, through the Grace of God; THE POSITIVE PROJECT was revealed to him. Dedicated to the prevention of youth violence utilizing the performing & visual arts and other diverse community services as a primary deterrent against gangs, drugs and youth crime. Starting with only a desire to serve, The Positive Project grew from a handful of volunteers – from members of People’s Hope Full Gospel Baptist Church to a volunteer organization of over 20 people within one year. Assisted in this vision by the late Bishop Jesse Richardson, and support from the founder’s wife Ethel Elaine, Elder Alston laid the groundwork for many of the current programs The Positive Project facilitates today. THE POSITIVE PROJECT is a 501© (3) non-profit organization with full staff, volunteers, an active board of directors and an advisory board.
In October of 1996, Elder Alston united with Hope, Faith and Charity Full Gospel Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Prophet H.L. Galloway, Sr. and Althea “Queen” Galloway; Pastors. With guidance from Pastor Prophet Galloway, Elder Alston assisted in the development of the Hope InterFaith Charity Volunteer Caregivers, a volunteer interfaith coalition under The Positive Project umbrella. This community ministry was blest with a grant from The Faith In Action project through the Robert W. Johnson Foundation – other grants would follow, such as Houston Crackdown Bright Ideas, Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County, Aldine Crimewatch and Exxon.
Currently, The Positive Project (TPP) programs include: Social Service programs in apartment complexes and housing developments known for high rates of crime and gang activity, The Positive Project “Players” Youth Performance group, Inwood Terrace “ZestFest” Performing Arts Festival and The Hope InterFaith Charity Volunteer Caregivers. The Positive Project will go to the homes, school and any back street where young people are at risk to drugs, gangs, crime and death. At these sites TPP facilitates after school tutoring and ESL classes, parenting classes, anger management and conflict resolution classes are taught.
The Positive Project has implemented School Chapters that deal with schools specific needs or issues, sponsor youth performance groups and provide one to one counseling services in the home and wherever is needed. Our future visions are to obtain and facilitate programs out of a 60 bed residential facility to be called “The Positive Place” that will house children, volunteer center, and a community center that will include: a computer learning lab, resource referral service and job training resource service, along with our tutoring and parenting classes. The only requirement for participation in TPP programs is a desire to be helped. The Positive Project Social Services Program coordinates and motivates businesses, churches, schools, law enforcement and local government to work together to save a generation of youth that are at risk to gangs , drugs and death .
In 2001 The Positive Project Playahz InSpirational Theatre Arts Company was formed consolidating all the performing arts programs into a solid force for community service. Directly impacting the cultural community through a season of stage-plays, musicals and concerts.