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Winston-Salem nonprofit helps teens find their literary and performance voice

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A Winston-Salem nonprofit is immersing teens in the world of literary and performance arts.

Authoring Action is the product of a light bulb moment by Lynn Rhoades.

"I just realized that we were a lot of adults trying to figure out what teenagers needed without asking them," Rhoades says.

So in 2002, she enlisted the help of Nathan Ross-Freeman with his performing arts background and they developed a unique program for teens.

"Not to give them voices but to give them access to their voices because we need to hear what they have to say because we`ll listen to them more than we`ll listen to each other as adults," Ross-Freeman said.

But none of this would be possible without the help of The Winston-Salem Foundation, which supports Authoring Action both financially and as a resource for any help they need as a smaller non-profit.

"The grants have helped me think through the structure, certainly accountability. You know, I never set out to be a non-profit executive director, I just believed in young people and wanted to create an opportunity for them," Rhoades said.

And the teens continually impress -- practicing for upcoming performances, perfecting their lyrics and showing that the teen voice can have important things to say.

The teens say they're inspired when they see how adults react to their performances.