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Focusing On The Future: Group Of Local Teenagers Hoping To Create 'Change' Through Artistic Activism

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- This week's Focusing on the Future segment features a group of teens turning the theatre into social activism. The group of future voters is finding a way to get involved in their communities and make a political impact.

It's unscripted and it's called Artistic Activism.

"Theatre, it really transforms people," Lisa Jo Epstein said. "Students get a real sense of agency and leadership and hope in the face of a broken world."

A world where these creative minds use comedy to discuss real issues, like voting.

"You see over here, Debbie Downer over here, is not interested in voting," one student said. "He doesn't think it matters."


Inside Central High School, CBS3 watched an improv show where teen actors from Pennsylvania Youth Vote were practicing for future shows.

"If a million people have that mentality that one vote didn't matter, then we won't have any votes," another student said.

It's a nonpartisan group of teenagers, teachers and community groups that empower young people to understand how the government works and their roles as responsible citizens.

"I had teachers say to me, 'I can register kids myself,' but I need something that is actually going to get them to vote in every election," Executive Director of Pennsylvania Youth Vote Angelique Hinton said.

Joining PA Youth Vote is a quiet group, Community Rising. They take the lessons learned in the classroom and educate their peers.

Interestingly, most of them were too young to vote, but old enough to be social activists.

"The older generation, kind of, they are just on their own separate sides, they don't listen to each other," Community Rising member Emely Seda said.

"I personally feel like gun violence has gone up through charts over the past years, there's people dying, there's people around my age dying," Community Rising member Eleanor Koepke-Heisler said.

"I want the rest of the youth to know that they can create change," Community Rising member Kasey Shamis said.


While the skits were funny, the message was serious.

"If people see like these six teenagers who came and care so much about voting and are so excited to exercise their right, like you should too," PA Youth Vote member Jainei Li said.

Beginning in August, these young activists will be meeting with councilmembers to discuss issues like gun violence and you never know, you might just see a skit or two.

Know an outstanding high school senior that deserves recognition? Let us know by completing the form below and we may select the student to be featured in our "Focusing on the Future" series.

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