Urban Improv has been proven effective.

The Hamilton Fish Institute on School and Community Violence selected Urban Improv for an evaluation as an effective violence prevention program. Starting in 2000, this independent, multi-year study was funded through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The article has now been published in the Journal of School Violence, 2006  (Volume 5, Number 2).

The evaluation’s purpose was to assess Urban Improv’s impact on a variety of domains related to youth violence at different developmental stages. It was conducted by the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute, and was overseen by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, Trauma Center Medical Director and Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine.

Results show clear benefits for Urban Improv students. The program has been proven effective in preventing increased or new-onset of aggressive behaviors with elementary school children, while also increasing pro-social behaviors.

Before I did Urban Improv, when my friends would get into an argument, I would’t know what to do, but after Urban Improv I learned how to handle those kinds of situations. I learned how to deal with verbal and physical fighting, and aI was able to help my friends stop fighting. Now we’re better friends because of it.

Alexia, 7th Grade Student at Boston Teachers Union School

My son goes to your workshop with the Murphy Elementary School. I wanted to tell you that you all made a difference in his life. I’m a single mom and his dad doesn’t want anything to do with him. When he comes home from your program, he is so happy and can’t wait to tell me all about it. Thank you so much for making him happy and very proud of himself.

Anonymous Parent, Richard J. Murphy School

My Youth Unscripted leaders have become really important mentors who have given me important tools to use in my everyday life. We talk about EVERYTHING. Youth Unscripted is all about coming together. We connect on issues of emotional substance like homophobia, racism and sexism. That way, we become open to new ways of thinking and acting.

Kanilla, 10th Grade Student at Boston Collegiate Charter School


  • Selected into Boston Public School’s Opportunity Portfolio. 2017.
  • Hosted community conversation on “Effective Engagement with Boston Youth on Issues of Race and Violence” with Boston Mayor Walsh, Suffolk County District Attorney Conley and other city leaders. November 2015.
  • Recipient of the New England Theatre Conference’s regional theatre award. 2012.
  • Provided workshops for Facing History and Ourselves’ installation titled “Choosing to Participate” that was held at the Boston Public Library. 2008.
  • Initiated Reach Four-Five, a three part assembly series, with 4th graders in 10 Boston Public Schools that were new to Urban Improv and successfully reached almost 1,000 students. 2007. Program continues in 2008 with 4th and 5th graders.
  • Accepted for inclusion in the Office of Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Model Program Guide as a “promising” program for violence prevention.  Also included in the Community Guide for the government initiative Helping America’s Youth. 2006.
  • Increased size of artist staff and added second workshop location effectively doubling the reach of the Boston  Public School Workshop Program.  2006.
  • Presenter, “Persistently Safe Schools,” the National Conference of the Hamilton Fish Institute on School and Community Violence. 2005.
  • Presenter, Massachusetts Attorney General’s Conference: Safe Schools Initiative on Prohibiting Harassment, Bullying, Discrimination and Hate Crimes. 2005.
  • Presenter, Boston Public Health Commission and Boston Coalition for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Conference: “A Day in the Life of an Urban Teen.” 2005.