As the All Stars Project (ASP) gets ready to launch its 10th anniversary in Dallas, it held its first in-person, onstage All Stars Talent Show Network (ASTSN) performance in four years. In partnership with St. Philip’s School & Community Center, the festivities took place on Saturday July 29th and were made even more special by a return to South Dallas, where ASTSN had a regular presence prior to the pandemic.

Over 150 people filled St. Philip’s Community Center to enjoy dynamic performances — rap, singing, dancing and more — by young people from Dallas’ poorest communities. Youth, together with staff and trained volunteers from all walks of life, also managed every aspect of the show, including lights, sound, ticket sales, outreach and publicity. Prior to the doors opening, participants took part in performance workshops, designed to create an environment in which everyone is appreciated. Community, cultural and civic leaders were also in attendance, cheering on the young people, including Iv Amenti, Fine Arts Director, St. Philip’s School and Community Center, Chief Catrina Shead, Assistant Police Chief, Dallas Police Department, Lynn McBee, Young Women’s Preparatory Network and Workforce Czar for the city of Dallas, and Rolanda Brigham, Cultural Arts Manager, City of DeSoto Texas.

For over 40 years, ASTSN has involved young people aged 5 to 25 in performing and producing neighborhood talent shows nationally. Everyone who auditions makes the show and for many it is their first time being onstage and experiencing this kind of support and success. As do all ASP’s free afterschool performance programs, the talent shows provides young people the opportunity to try on new performances, onstage and off, engage with the world in new ways, grow as leaders and acquire the kinds of relational skills critical for today’s world. 

“Everything we do at All Stars is about performance and community building, and both were on full display today,” said ASP Vice President and Dallas City Leader Antoine Joyce. “We want to give young people every opportunity to grow socially, emotionally, and culturally, and to have a lot of fun doing it. We’re excited that St. Philip’s has joined with us to bring the All Stars development-through-performance approach to the South Dallas community that we both care so much about.”

Mr. Joyce’s enthusiasm is shared by St. Philip’s Headmaster and Executive Director, Dr. Terry Flowers: “We have seen first-hand how talented our young people in Dallas are. Through this partnership with All Stars Project, we have the perfect way to share that talent with the broader community, while giving our youth access to a transformational experience that will last their entire lives.”

The transformational and developmental impact of the ASTSN and other ASP programs has been confirmed by a landmark report conducted in partnership with SMU’s Center for Research and Evaluation (SMU CORE). The report finds that youth grow in eight key areas, what ASP calls “dimensions of development” — appreciation, giving, interpersonal competence, personal responsibility, vocational competence, confidence, improvisation, and open worldview — in ways that support them to more intimately relate to others and impact on their communities and the world. In surveys with ASTSN participants conducted by SMU CORE, 80-100% of young people reported that the program gives them something positive to do, helps to build community, supports them to learn new things and introduces them to the value of performing in every area of their lives.