Young Playwrights' Theater inspires young people to realize the power of their own voices.

Callie Kozlak, Vice Chair and Development Committee Chair

YPT Beloved Board, January 2017

Introducing Beloved Board, a new interview series featuring YPT’s incredible Board of Directors!

YPT could not do what we do without the guidance and support of our Board of Directors. This inspiring team of educators, businesspeople and community leaders volunteer their time to lead YPT’s growth, oversee our operations and ensure that we can continue to serve Greater Washington’s young people for years to come. We are so grateful to this amazing team for their years of steadfast leadership!

To honor our Board of Directors, we are pleased to give them the opportunity to share a bit about themselves and their personal missions with the YPT family. Read on for an interview with 2017 Vice Chair and Development Committee Chair Callie Kozlak!

YPT: How long have you been on YPT’s Board of Directors?
CK: I have been on the Board since November 2015 (~15 months).

YPT: What prompted you to join YPT’s Board?
CK: A friend and former Board member reached out about joining the YPT Board. As a former DC public school teacher, I was really drawn to the idea of supporting an organization that partners with local schools to provide expanded learning opportunities. Then, I visited the YPT program at Tubman ES and was so impressed with the quality of instruction, the curriculum, and how engaged the students were in learning. I was sold!

YPT: What position do you hold on the Board? Why did you choose to take on that position?
CK: I am the Vice Chair and Chair of the Development Committee. I chose that position because I have experience in fundraising and external engagement for education non-profits. In this role, I aim to bring creative ideas to help YPT diversify its funding portfolio, and engage both board members and other supporters in a variety of fundraising and advocacy activities.

YPT: What is your proudest/most memorable moment as a member of YPT’s Board?
CK: I am proud that YPT has a credible reputation and brand with DC-area schools; and it is clear that there is a demand for YPT's program. I was also proud during the New Play Festival watching the students introduce themselves before their plays were performed. I could see the pride in their faces, and was moved by their testimonials of how learning to write plays was a positive and formative experience. 

YPT: What is the most fun part of being on the Board? The most challenging part?
CK: I love working with the YPT staff! They are so dedicated, kind, and talented, and clearly have a passion for the work and organization. The most challenging part is balancing my role as a board member with a full time job. But I know that whatever time and energy I put in to the board work, the staff is dedicating 10 times that amount. 

YPT: What do you hope that YPT and its Board will accomplish in the next five years?
CK: I hope that the Board can help develop and contribute to a funding model that will allow the YPT to sustain and scale its program to serve more schools and students. I also hope we can maintain a very inclusive culture of Board members and supporters who reflect the students and communities we serve, as well as who are committed to advancing racial and social justice through education and the arts.

YPT: Why does arts education matter to you, your community and/or the young people of the DMV?
CK: It is extremely important that students receive a well-rounded education and engage in learning through a variety of forms. Having expanded opportunities for learning helps meet students' unique needs, personalities, and life circumstances. Moreover, the arts help give students a sense of empathy, identity, and purpose, and serve as valuable outlets for emotions and creativity as they develop as people and citizens.

YPT: Were you involved in creative writing or the arts growing up? If so, how did that impact your life?
CK: Throughout my school years, I always had access to arts and music classes. My mom, as a volunteer, started an "Arts Appreciation" program at my elementary school. She facilitated lessons on famous painters or types of visual arts, and then facilitated hands-on activities to go along with the theme. I was even interviewed by the local news when my school had "Monet Day". These type of activities certainly instilled a love for learning, and has inspired me to ensure all students have these types of opportunities. Plus, I am a stronger writer and thinker because of arts education.

YPT: What three adjectives would you use to describe YPT?
CK: Dedicated, fun, formative   

YPT: Anything else you want to say about YPT, its students or its future?
CK: Students are the future! And YPT is uniquely positioned to positively impact so many kids, their families, and the broader community. I am honored to be a part of this organization.