Arts, Culture, and Humanities

Get Lit Words Ignite

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • www.getlit.org

Mission Statement

Get Lit - Words Ignite (Get Lit) fuses classic and contemporary poetry with spoken word performance to disrupt and reduce rampant illiteracy among Los Angeles youth. Through an innovative standards-based curriculum, fusing classic literature and poetry with contemporary spoken word performance techniques, Get Lit promotes literacy, encourages creative self-expression, and fosters cultural understanding. Get Lit equips students for success in high school and future success in college, the workplace, and life.

Main Programs

  1. Get Lit In School
  2. Get Lit’s Classic Slam
  3. Get Lit’s After School
Service Areas

Self-reported

California

The Get Lit programs are for teens 13-19.  Classes and workshops will be run by LAUSD (and surrounding area) high school teachers and Get Lit instructors, who have been certified in the Get Lit Curriculum. 

Get Lit serves over 15,000 teens in geographic areas including Watts, Long Beach, Compton, S. Los Angeles, Venice, Malibu, Reseda, Pasadena, Hollywood, Echo Park, Santa Monica, Pico Rivera, Beverly Hills and more.

ruling year

2009

Executive Director

Self-reported

Diane Luby Lane

Co Principal Officer

Self-reported

Diane Luby Lane

Keywords

Self-reported

Los Angeles

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Also Known As

Get Lit-Words Ignite, Inc

EIN

26-4644018

 Number

4127684681

Physical Address

672 S La Fayette Park Place #30

Los Angeles, 90057

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

With less than 60% of high school students graduating in Los Angeles, it is no surprise that teens in Los Angeles County have the highest illiteracy rate in California. Over a third of residents over 16 lacking basic literacy skills. The team at Get Lit is focused on improving literacy, particularly among low-income youth, by inspiring teens to stay motivated and remain in school. Teens who have been introduced to our program continue to spread the word and create a movement in our community.
Get Lit's programs improve the lives of Los Angeles' teens by creating a culture of expression through poetry, giving young artists a chance to stand under the lights to receive accolades and scholarships from their peers and teachers. Additionally, it gives LA youth the opportunity to build relationships with celebrated artists and grow through their guidance. This infrastructure of public achievement for teens through language and performance has not previously existed in Los Angeles. Through the Get Lit programs, it now does.
The goal is to improve teen literacy rates and graduation rates, and the self efficacy of the teens in our program. The impact of the work done by Get Lit has been documented by evaluator Professor Emeritus James Catterall and his UCLA team.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Get Lit In School

Get Lit In School works in partnership with high schools
across Los Angeles County to ignite creativity and an authentic love of
learning and language in teens through the study, memorization, writing and
performance of classic and spoken word poetry. These high school teens study
different styles of poetry, learn to understand it, study the great poets
(living and dead), and increased vocabulary and knowledge of poetic terms. Get
Lit’s In School program’s curriculum is aligned to new Common Core Standards
and is one of the few Standards-based programs approved by both the Los Angeles
Unified School District (LAUSD) to fulfill English language curriculum
requirements and by the Los Angeles Arts Commission as an Arts Education
provider. In January 2013 over 26 Los Angeles County High Schools will be
enrolled full time in Get Lit’s In School Curriculum with a projected 5,000
teens taking its program.  The
instruction in over 75% of the participating schools culminates in our CLASSIC
SLAM.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Budget

Program 2

Get Lit’s Classic Slam

The Get Lit Classic Slam
is a teen poetry competition where graduates of the Get Lit In School program compete
for the honor of representing their schools at quarterfinals, semifinals and
finals Classic Slam events. This program began as an effort to increase the
teen literacy rates of Los Angeles County teens and also fill the gap of
declining school budgets for arts enrichment programs. The Classic Slam itself is
the culminating event of our In School Program. In 2012, our Executive Director
and Director of Education provided a two day intensive training on the four
month program curriculum for 18 Los Angeles County teachers. The newly trained
teachers took the program back to their respective schools to instruct 2,500 teens
(collectively) who may otherwise have no or limited exposure to the arts. The
program culminated in our first annual Classic Slam teen poetry event in April
2012 at the LATC & Wiltern theaters. Together, the events were attended by over 2,000 people.  Over the course of 2 days, 108 teens competed
by reciting classic poetry as well as their own spoken word response poems,
instilling excitement for literature, self-expression, as well as fostering
school pride and a sense of purpose. This year the event will be held at the
LATC and Orpheum theaters, over 20 schools are participating, and significantly
more students are going through the In School program preceding the Slam.

Category

Arts, Culture & Humanities

Population(s) Served

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Budget

Program 3

Get Lit’s After School

participants come
from high schools throughout Los Angeles County and rehearse each week on
Saturdays from 10-2 with the Get Lit Players, exploring the reading, writing,
and performance of classic and spoken word poetry. They log over 150 hours of
free workshops each year and work up to Get Lit Player
status/performances. 

Novice Players (Tier
III) is a new component to our After School program and we anticipate 20 to
50 are students who join us to explore the writing and performance of classic
and spoken word poetry. Students are introduced to many great poems and invited
to memorize and perform them, as well as develop poems of their own. This class
is for students who are casual about the process or need more experience before
moving up to Tier I. It is taught by Daveed
Diggs. Daveed is a graduate of Brown University with a degree in theater. In
addition, he is currently a recording hip hop artist.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Budget

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    The core objective of all Get Lit programs is to increase literacy rates among youth enrolled in Los Angeles County
    schools. We achieve this objective through in-school and after-school programs that transform the lives of youth
    through poetry.

    According to Central Connecticut State University America's Most Literate Cities Study (2010), the City of Los Angeles
    ranks a woeful 61 out of 75 of cities with populations of 250,000 or more. Additionally, in Los Angeles County, more
    than 50% of high school students drop out before graduating and teen literacy rates are among the lowest in the
    state. Get Lit programs offer teenagers, aged 13-19, a gateway to imagination, creativity, confidence, skill building, higher
    order thinking, and employment.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Since 2006, Get Lit has offered its immersive curriculum to public, charter, and private high schools, throughout Los
    Angeles County. Currently taught in 45 high schools, often in multiple classrooms within the same school, this dynamic,
    immersive 12-week unit engages students in the reading, writing, memorization and performance of classic and spoken
    word poetry. The Get Lit Curriculum is aligned to the California State Common Core Standards (Strand 9 and Strand 11: numbers 3,
    4, 6, 7 and 10). It is the only curriculum of its kind in Los Angeles County schools that combines the learning of classic
    literature with the creation of new, original poems. This process develops reading and writing skills, critical thinking
    skills, and encourages students to find and use their voice. Literacy becomes a passion and language an outlet for their
    deepest levels of humanity and creativity.
    In 2014, over 5,000 teens (51% male; 49% female) completed the Get Lit Curriculum and over 20,000 students annually
    attend and are inspired by Get Lit performances. The ethnic breakdown of Get Lit students and performance audience
    is approximately 37.8% Latino, 27.6% African American, 21.9% Asian American, 7.2% Caucasian, and 5.5% other
    ethnicities.

    Schools that offer the Get Lit Curriculum hold a graduation ceremony each semester to celebrate and showcase the
    work that the students have completed. Students who complete at least one 12-week unit perform in front of their peers,
    teachers, administrators, and parents. Teens who want to go further, compete in a school wide slam for one of six spots
    on the school team that will advance to the countywide Classic Slam, which is held over three days at the Los Angeles
    Theatre Center (downtown) and the Wilshire Ebell Theatre (midtown). Other school teams participate by attending the
    Classic Slam as a popular field trip. Get Lit offers Classic Slam poets and teacher/coaches high quality coaching
    throughout the school year. This high energy event brings teams from the most diverse communities in Los Angeles to
    compete for scholarships with a spirit of camaraderie and joy.

    Classic Slam poets are invited to audition for the Get Lit Players, the troupe of 12-15 young poets who perform for
    packed school auditoriums throughout the County, at special events such as the Los Angeles Festival of Books, and at
    the annual Brave New Voices Festival. In 2013, 55 teams from around the world competed in Washington D.C., and the
    Players placed 3rd (behind Denver and South Africa). In 2011, the Get Lit Players performed at the White House at the
    invitation of First Lady Michelle Obama. Get Lit Players can also join the alumni troupe Emeritus, who in addition to
    performing, teach Get Lit workshops.

    Through all of these activities, Get Lit serves approximately 15,000 – 20,000 teens annually, 70% of whom are
    considered 'at risk' and are enrolled in Title 1 schools.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    The Get Lit Curriculum is in demand, and Get Lit – Words Ignite is responding to the need. By following our 3-year
    strategic plan, we have expanded staff to include skilled spoken word artist educators. They create safe spaces for young
    poets to explore, make mistakes, to be vulnerable. We've also hired emerging non-profit arts leaders to fill key
    administrative and marketing positions, and we've built an effective board, which has resulted in greater financial
    accountability, planning, diversified funding, networking, and advocacy. We envision new programs for youth that will
    further expand their talents and skills, and we continue to find new ways to spread the word about what we do. All of
    these components form a solid foundation from which to expand.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Get Lit will continue to collect demographic information and statistics on our youth and the schools who partner with
    us in serving them. Our goal is to better understand the impact of our programs on literacy rates, high-school drop out
    rates, college attendance and graduation, and the life and work choices that Get Lit youth make. Qualitative data
    collection along with the above quantitative statistics helps us to refine our curriculum and programming and to
    understand the impacts of Get Lit.

    Since 2012, Get Lit Curriculum has grown from 18 schools to 22 schools to 40 schools and to the current 65 schools.
    Here is a representative sample of qualitative feedback from Get Lit students:
    "I hated poetry. I had no idea what it was saying before, now I'm addicted to it!"
    "Get Lit is the only reason I come to school. The night before English class I can't even sleep, I'm so excited. It is the
    reason I come back every day."

    From Get Lit teachers:
    "Quite frankly, Get Lit and the Classic Slam are the most dynamic, exciting, and engaging opportunities my students
    have experienced in decades. The work is strategic, effective, and the curriculum, professional development, pedagogy
    and implementation is inspiring and innovative. The work has let a real fire on our campus and we are so excited about
    performance poetry and our future with Get Lit. We thank everyone at Get Lit for CHANGING OUR LIVES."
    -Brad Koepenick, Speech Communication, Valley International Prep High School
    “It was an incredibly rewarding journey for me personally... but my kids... they have been changed forever. The
    curriculum and slam experience has reminded me why I became a teacher."
    - Dottie Burkhart, English Teacher, Alhambra High School

    We also review the response of our work in the community, noting special accolades. The Get Lit Players were 1 of 7
    programs nationwide recently featured in the PBS special “Arts & The Mind" and have ranked in the Top 10 of 55
    international performance troupes at the Brave New Voices Festival in 2008, 2010, and 2012 for their own original
    poetry. In July 2014, the Get Lit Players placed 3rd at Brave New Voices. Most recently, three of the team members
    won Youth Speaks' Raise Up Contest and were invited to perform their original group poem at the Kennedy Center in
    Washington, D.C.

    Get Lit recently received funding to participate in a Next Generation Creativity study that will assess creativity, creative
    self efficacy, empathy, and collaboration using a unique survey instrument, piloted in 2012‐13 by noted arts education
    and creativity researcher James S. Catterall, Ph.D. at the Centers for Research on Creativity. The study will
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Not available.
Service Areas

Self-reported

California

The Get Lit programs are for teens 13-19.  Classes and workshops will be run by LAUSD (and surrounding area) high school teachers and Get Lit instructors, who have been certified in the Get Lit Curriculum. 

Get Lit serves over 15,000 teens in geographic areas including Watts, Long Beach, Compton, S. Los Angeles, Venice, Malibu, Reseda, Pasadena, Hollywood, Echo Park, Santa Monica, Pico Rivera, Beverly Hills and more.

Social Media

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External Reviews

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

GET LIT - WORDS IGNITE INC
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Get Lit Words Ignite

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

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  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2015 and 2014
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Executive Director

Diane Luby Lane

Co Principal Officer

Diane Luby Lane

BIO

DIANE LUBY LANE is Founder/Executive Director of Get Lit-Words Ignite, Southern California’s leading nonprofit presenter of literary performance, education and teen poetry programs; and the Get Lit Players, an award-winning classic teen poetry troupe, who perform for over 15,000 teens each year. Lane’s LIT KIT, a standards based, in-school curriculum has been adopted by over 45 Los Angeles Country high schools and each year Lane produces an event called the CLASSIC SLAM, (the culmination of this instruction) which is one of the largest poetry festivals for teens in the nation, and the only to combine classic recitation with modern spoken word. In addition, Lane is author of Words of Women, a compendium of original monologues for women that is published by Samuel French. She has appeared in numerous films, television shows, and national commercials. Her critically acclaimed one-woman show, Deep Sea Diving (AKA Born Feet First), has toured high schools and colleges across America. She has won numerous awards including the James Patterson Pageturner Award, KCET Hero, and the History of the Lion Award. In 2012, Lane was honored as a recipient of the Presidential Lifetime Volunteer Service Award and Get Lit has been chosen for recognition as a 2012 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award Finalist, distinguishing Get Lit as one of the top arts and humanities based programs in the country. Lane has attended the University of South Florida, New York University, and Loyola Marymount, and has recently been awarded a Fellowship through the Southern California Leadership Network and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. Lane is a graduate of the Annenberg Foundation’s Alchemy & Alchemy + Leadership Programs. She is a TEDX speaker, and a member of Mayor Garcetti’s select Poet Laureate Committee.

STATEMENT FROM THE Executive Director

"Words are powerful. They enter our ignorant, dark places and light them.
 
I
have been a teacher, private mentor and literacy coach, working in
schools and after school programs for almost twenty years. A few years ago I implemented a
poetry program I’d created in a High School in South Central, Los
Angeles.
 
We reviewed many poems including the Langston Hughes
poem. “Expendable,” which prompted a discussion of the Iraq war. I asked
them—” are you more than the face you present to the world?” We
discussed Zora Neale Hurston’s “Ya gotta go there ta know there” and I
asked them “where have you been?”
 
One day a boy named Victor, turned in a piece of loose-leaf paper that said:
 I’m sadI’m thinking things that hurt my feelings.I want to be someone else better than meI want to change everything I see around me.I’m feeling lonely.
 I’m feeling that something beautiful is going to happen.
And I wondered, would something beautiful happen for Victor?
Would
he graduate from a school with a 75% drop out rate? Would he go to
college when less then 50% of graduates from his school did? Would he
survive the violence of his streets where gang bangs and drug deals were
constant?
 
I wanted to show Victor a world he’d never seen, so I left him with a taste of what had saved my life…books.
In
books, the
heroes you meet inevitably begin like you do. The adventures, trials,
explorations they face, YOU face. As they grow, YOU grow. It is a
powerful transference. Reading raises standardized test scores BUT MORE
THAN THAT it raises confidence, compassion, optimism, and belief in
oneself!
 
As educators, we cannot possibly reach every student
that needs us. We can impart in them a desire, thirst, demand for
knowledge any way they can get it. It has been created for them. And it
is waiting. It will not come to them. They have to reach for it.
 
We have to give them the desire to extend their hand!"

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Gary Romoff

Perricone Properties

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

Yes

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


ORGANIZATIONAL DEMOGRAPHICS

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

Gender
Race & Ethnicity
Sexual Orientation

We do not display sexual orientation information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Diversity Strategies
Yes
We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
Yes
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
Yes
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
Yes
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
No
We have a diversity committee in place
Yes
We have a diversity manager in place
Yes
We have a diversity plan