What We Do

Our Mission

Streetside Stories cultivates the voices of young people from underrepresented communities by teaching them how to write, illustrate, and share stories that honor their personal experiences.

Our Vision

All young people will value their voices and know that they can effect positive change in their lives and in the world.

Our Programs

Streetside Stories teaches students to use storytelling and the arts as powerful tools for self-expression. We believe that young people have important stories that deserve to be heard, and we hold a deep respect for students’ voices. Our storytelling programs engage young people in creative, inquiry-driven learning that focuses on developing their capacity as storytellers through literary arts, media arts, visual arts, and performance.

Each workshop averages 20 hours of direct instruction over 12 weeks and aligns with Common Core academic standards and National Core Arts standards. Student stories are explored through written work, visual art, photography, animation, poetry, performance, and creative media arts projects.

Workshops utilize The Creative Youth Development Framework, an asset-based approach to youth work that emphasizes safety, supportive relationships, meaningful youth involvement, skill building and community participation. Teaching Artists begin workshops by building a trusting environment through activities that set a tone of respect and caring. Storytelling, visual art, and performance get students moving, speaking up, and sharing their stories through project-based learning. Workshops focus on building students’ academic and literacy skills through the creative process, and support students as they communicate personal experiences and reflect on narratives of community, identity, and family. At the end of each class, students celebrate their achievements by sharing their work with their classmates and families in community showcases.

Our History

Streetside Stories was founded in 1989 by brothers James and Seth Levy on a cross-country bike ride to promote literacy and the arts. They rode cross-country, bringing storytelling, theater, and creative writing to kids in the communities they stopped in along the way. The brothers settled in San Francisco, where they began offering their storytelling workshops at public middle schools. These workshops gave rise to Streetside Stories, which was incorporated as a California Nonprofit in 1994. In its first year, Streetside served 60 students in three schools. Since 1989 Streetside has helped more than 27,000 Bay Area students share their life stories, connect with the arts, build community, and improve literacy skills.

Our Values

COMMUNITY
We demonstrate care and support for the young people we serve, their families, our co-workers, volunteers, partners and stakeholders. We build relationships and meet people where they are.

YOUTH VOICE
We hold a deep respect for young people and believe they have important stories that deserve to be heard.

CREATIVITY
We encourage self-expression, innovation and imagination and believe that all people have a right to be creative and reach their potential.

EQUITY
We honor everyone’s point of view and practice collective decision-making. We work with young people least likely to have opportunities to participate in arts education and programs designed to cultivate voice.

LEARNING
The arts are an essential part of education, and learning involves all participants as both students and teachers. Our work is guided by creative inquiry, a self-directed process that challenges power structures by asking people to explore who they are, what they know, and how they know it.

IMPACT
We deliver outcome-driven educational experiences that support identity exploration and develop young people’s art and literacy skills.