Samajae is an offensive lineman for the Panthers. He’s also a fantastic videographer and editor who puts together news stories about Pflugerville High School athletics.
Last year, through his participation in E4 Youth’s Get Creative Enrichment Club, he earned access to the SXSW Film Conference. He attended every day of the conference and soaked up as much knowledge and inspiration as he could.
Samajae is now kicking off his second year as member of the Get Creative Enrichment Club at PHS and, when I stopped by for a visit, he and his friends totally blew me away.
Let’s back up a minute.
This year marks my 20th year as a freelance copywriter and voice talent. To celebrate, I was looking for a way to make a difference in the Austin community. So I shot an email to Carl Settles at E4 Youth. Carl and I were freshman music majors together at UT. I knew vaguely that E4 Youth does good things for creative kids in under-resourced schools around Austin. I had no idea just how good.
I wanted to do more than just write a check (though I did that too). Carl and I cooked up a way to spotlight E4 Youth’s Get Creative Enrichment Clubs — by bringing you their stories.
What are Get Creative Enrichment Clubs?
Every high school has its dreamers, artists and makers. But not every high school community has all of the resources or support those kids need.
Get Creative Enrichment Clubs work with creative students at under-resourced high schools in the Austin area. It’s all about connecting these kids with the mentoring, tools, structure and professional mindset they’ll need to succeed. Club members develop creative projects that explore their skills and interests in various creative disciplines, and ultimately build a polished portfolio they can use to seek scholarship, internship and apprenticeship opportunities. At the same time, each club member can earn micro-credentials and rewards for their hard work — such as free passes to South by Southwest, pro-level technology equipment, and more.
This school year, there are Get Creative Enrichment Clubs at Pflugerville, Manor, Akins and Lanier high schools . There is also an open-enrollment Get Creative Media Club at Capitol Factory, which is accessible to all Austin-area youth 16-22 and focused on virtual reality, media and music projects.
But wait, doesn’t this cost money?
Student participation in Get Creative Enrichment Clubs at area high schools is absolutely free. (Get Creative Media Club at Capitol Factory has a $50 monthly fee.) The program is funded through contracts with specific schools/school districts and grants from charitable-giving foundations, as well as direct donations from the creative community.
This is why I made a $2000 donation (in honor of my 20th year) specifically to the Get Creative Enrichment Clubs. As we take a deeper dive into this incredible program and these amazing kids, I’m hoping you’ll be moved to pitch in too.
Stay tuned for more stories. In the meantime, if you want to learn more or get involved, contact Education Director Humberto Perez at email@example.com.