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Jefferson Award Winner Uses Stage To Help Youth Become Stars In Real Life

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Jefferson Award winner Dr. Elouise Joseph. (CBS)

Jefferson Award winner Dr. Elouise Joseph. (CBS)

SAN FRANCISON (KPIX 5) – When Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage,” he couldn’t have known that, 400 years later, the idea would be the foundation for a life-changing program for youth. It’s called The All Stars Project, and this week’s Jefferson Award goes to the woman who is helping young people perform both on and off the stage.

When Dr. Elouise Joseph isn’t tending to her patients at a community health clinic in Richmond, you’ll probably find her at the offices of the All Stars Project of the San Francisco Bay Area.

“It’s a very innovative approach to fighting poverty,” Joseph explained. “People are shocked when they hear the poverty rate in San Francisco is 22%.”

And it’s why, after completing medical school and a masters in public health, Joseph wanted to bring the New York-based All Stars Project to the Bay Area.

“When I was growing up poor in Louisiana, we felt isolated,” she remembered. “What All Stars does is supports young people to take risks and try new things and become more worldly.”

They do it by performing: three times a year, All Stars puts on talent shows – going out recruiting kids age 5 to 25, who come from disadvantaged neighborhoods in San Francisco.

High school senior Raven Cisco, is preparing for the next show.

“I think it’s a really great program,” Cisco said. “Especially for a lot of kids on the street who have nothing to do after school.”

“People learn to perform on stage and off,” Joseph added. “They try new things. It builds their self-esteem (and) their confidence.”

The talent shows are just the first step in the All Stars Project. With the support of local businesses, older students go on to perform in the workplace – like Tatyano Martinez. After 14 weeks of professional workshops, she was ready for a part in the office, and just completed a summer internship at Deloitte.

“They do tax and consulting and audits and things I never even knew about!” Martinez said. “When you are in a professional space, there is a certain way to act, to talk and to approach other people.”

“All of this helps young people to perform in the world to see themselves as being part of the world, to become mainstream,” said Joseph.

So for helping hundreds of Bay Area youth become stars in their own lives, this week’s Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Dr. Elouise Joseph.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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