Community Building and Social Therapeutics

Newman’s psychology of becoming has influenced, inspired and formed the foundation for community-based projects across the globe. These programs, whether in Bangladesh or the Bronx, are a practical-critical challenge to mainstream educational theory and traditional models of youth development.

Central to these programs, which vary widely in content, is that participants are related to as changers rather than as objects of change; as both the products of their environments and, at the same time, the creators of the environments which in turn shape them. Newman engaged this facet of human life by introducing performance as the method of growth and development.

The programs most closely associated with Newman are those of the All Stars Project, Inc. – an independently funded network of development programs he founded in the early-1980s. The All Stars Project’s youth programs (which now include the All Stars Talent Show Network, the Development School for Youth, and UX, annually involve thousands of young people, ages 5-25, in activities that invite them to perform their lives, both onstage and off.

The All Stars Project grew out of Newman’s desire to do something positive in the face of the failure of the public schools to educate poor and minority children and his emerging understanding of performance as the tool-and-result activity of human development. With its headquarters in New York City, the All Stars Project has expanded its programs to Newark, NJ, Chicago and San Francisco/Oakland, California and via other organizations to Boston, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. 

In all of these programs, the psychology of becoming underlies the program’s mission and the need for young people to become more worldly is the priority developmental issue.