Young Faces Smiling Program Utilizes Pop Culture and Public Figures to Provide Reality Education

Photo Credit: Young Faces Smiling on the Harry Connick, Jr. Show

Since 2005, Ms. McClarty has been empowering young people through servant leadership. Her enrichment program, Young Faces Smiling, utilizes pop culture as a catalyst for academic change.

As the co-founder of Young Faces Smiling, Ms. McClarty provides Reality Education lessons - academic lessons created from stories students find in the news about public figures, entrepreneurs, and celebrities. Students then write to celebrities to improve their networking, communication, reading, writing, and diction skills. The Young Faces Smiling curriculum has featured over 400 actors, athletes, entertainers, clergy, radio personalities, and more including gospel singer Dorinda Clark-Cole of the Clark Sisters, Teyona Taylor, DC Young Fly, Mayor David Dinkins, and many more.

In our interview, Ms. McClarty described her teenage years, growing up in Harlem, New York where all she aspired to do was count drug money. Her village was strong and supportive, but she remained willful and rebellious. It was the founder of Young Faces Smiling who mentored Ms. McClarty until she turned her life around and eventually become a teacher, administrator, and author. She later joined her mentor, Dr. Eloise Young to create the Young Faces Smiling enrichment program that uses what Ms. McClarty refers to as "Reality Teaching".

Photo Credit: Young Faces Smiling

Ms. McClarty goes on to describe how she converts current events experienced by celebrities, entrepreneurs, and politicians into learning exercises. She is actively working on replicating her "Reality Teaching" technique and has written several books idea for educators, youth advocates, and parents on the value of mentorship, the impact it has had on her life, and her formula for contacting celebrities to lend their support for your community programs. My interview with Ms. McClarty can be found below. Check it out!

Resources from Ms. McClarty can be found here:

More information about Young Faces Smiling here:

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