MARYLAND

Higher Hopes to the Outcomes keeps kids off the streets with the Arts

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A new Prince George's County program is drawing teens away from trouble with the Arts. 

Higher Hopes to the Outcome, a local non-profit, joined forces with the Benjamin D. Foulois Creative and Performing Arts Academy to help local teens write and produce a play about themselves.

The play, called "Little Red Riding in the Hood," tells the story of a young girl who can achieve great things, only if she makes the right decisions.

All 80 children in the program have worked on the play.

Participant Kennedy Harris said, "It teaches you that some things that you do, it can't be because you wanna be cool."

Dr. Bruce Purnell, the founder of Higher Hopes to the Outcomes, says the Arts are a popular and positive way to draw kids away from the crime and drugs that plague their neighborhoods. Once he has their attention, the real work can begin.

"We're going to redefine cool. If we can redefine cool, then we got it!," Purnell said.

The organization aims to mentor students, making them positive, productive members of society.

Purnell added, "They become more empowered, they're more outspoken, they're more active."

But, students say the play doesn't just impact them, it allows them to show their community what they can achieve when they come together.

Higher Hopes member Makell Abdullah said, "A lot of people come to see our plays, so it's basically like holding up a mirror and showing them how things can be. So basically, we're trying to change the community and make everything better."

Opening night is Thursday, May 10 at 7 p.m. at the Benjamin D. Foulois Creative and Performing Arts Academy, located at 4601 Beauford Road in Suitland, Maryland.

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