LoveLife Arts and Media Training Academy (LAMTA)
The LoveLife Arts and Media Training Academy (LAMTA) is a six-month after-school program that trains youth in the art of radio, television, theater and multi-media production. Students are involved in all areas of the development process, learning to use cameras and audio equipment, as well as important production and editing elements of developing messages for the media. Professionals in the arts and media field join in workshops about their particular field and about the impact media have on society.
Students are tested regularly on their basic skills in media arts. Once youth are successfully trained in the technical aspects of media production, LAMTA provides them with an opportunity to share their vision and develop their own voice to speak out on violence or any other issue they see preventing youth from being happy and living healthy lives.
The LoveLife Foundation's annual play, "Legacy For LoEshé," features pieces written and performed by Oakland youth and involves collaboration between the media phase of our program and the performing arts wing. We train students in our media portion of the academy to videotape and edit the performance. The final version is broadcast on KMTP Channel 32 TV, and broadcast live on KPOO radio 89.5 FM.
Each public TV and radio broadcast is highly publicized in advance to ensure optimum viewing and listening audiences. Not only do students receive maximum exposure in the 4th largest media market, but they also address the climate of violence by spreading life-affirming messages to audiences who are not able to see the performances in person.
Graduates are encouraged to further their development and experience in the media by joining the Special Projects Team. They continue to develop multicultural and gender-specific programs that communicate life-affirming messages conceived and produced by our target population. These at-risk youth now equipped with newly acquired skills are able to work on several special projects relevant to their own communities.
Throughout the project, LLF's Youth "Soul Patrol" work with other community groups to survey the residents and other members of the target populations to determine the awareness and receptiveness of the media training academy and its productions.
An additional component is the sales and marketing phase of the training. Trainees are expected to successfully solicit sponsorships for the development of future media projects, effectively building a team of media sales account executives whose job it is to identify, pitch and close potential program sponsors and underwriters.
Legacy for LoEshé and the Saving Lives Theater Project
In the summer of 1997, after one of LoEshé Lacy's friends, James Valery (Nu Nu) was killed, she asked her father to help her create a play written by young people about their experiences with violence in Oakland. Tragically, she herself was killed later that year.
The LoveLife Foundation was created based on LoEshé's vision for this healing forum. We have presented the play, "Legacy for LoEshé," each year since 1997 throughout the Bay Area in theaters, schools and at special performances in juvenile hall. The play is written and performed by Oakland youth about their experiences with violence and other issues important to today's youth. It is a powerful exposé that has had a profound effect on the individuals who have seen it.
With the increasing violence and rising murder rates in the city of Oakland, this poignant message of the devastating effects of violence and murder needs to be seen as often as possible. Post-performance discussions serve as a healing and bonding forum for the larger community to gather and communicate directly. Parents and youth have the opportunity to engage in inter-generational dialogue that helps bridge the communication gap that often exists between youth and adults.
In 2002, we collaborated with the Ex'pression Center for New Media in Emeryville, a state-of-the-art media training school, with a live web cast of the production. In 1999, the play aired repeatedly on KTOP-TV to thousands of viewers.
"Legacy for LoEshé" is the primary play in the LoveLife Foundation's Saving Lives Theater Project, an ongoing vehicle for youth to direct their peers away from violence, using their own words and experiences. The medium of theater is a powerful and much needed outlet for youth to come to grips with the violence around them. Through the Saving Lives Theater Project, the LoveLife Foundation is planning series of performances that will put Oakland on the map as a showcase outlet for local youth to present their diverse talents.