What would happen if teens were given an online platform where they could engage with one another around compelling stories centered on life-changing virtues like gratitude, forgiveness, and self-control? What if they could share their struggles and experiences within a supportive, interactive online community? This pilot grant project will begin the process of using existing scientific research concerning character strengths and virtues in gratitude as a basis to create narrative online digital media to positively impact the lives of teens. The majority of teens are already spending a great deal of time online, either through various forms of social media or by watching digital content, be that movies, short videos, or influential bloggers. Today's online platform is significant as youth look for community and a way to connect to each other.
We will use Act One’s seasoned Alumni & Guest Lecturers and the leading scientific expertise of our partners at the Thrive Center to develop significant stories and interactive tools to create a vibrant online platform for youth. Act One will write a series of stories strategically and creatively designed to promote character strength development in 14-18 year-olds, each focused on one of a number of well-researched character formation areas (e.g. gratitude, forgiveness, humility). Youth will be provided opportunities to respond to video challenges associated with these stories and will be encouraged to share and support one another in the process. The ultimate result is that teens will be inspired to see and experience the benefits of living according to strong values, integrating them into their daily lives and encouraging their peers to do the same. In a time where the odds are stacked against the development of character in young people, our passion is to establish a platform that will create lasting change and personal transformation in their lives that will overflow into their families and into the next generation.