Raised to Date

Our hope is to have The aCHIeve Project fully funded so that no child will be turned away from this and future sessions. We want to empower students of ALL genders/identities and shades. We need ALL those voices…those that are loud, those that are quiet and all those in-between.

It’s going to be our world after the adults, and they aren’t doing anything right now to help make this world a better place for us. This camp will give us the tools to create those changes.
— A.B., age 15
I would wish that all teenagers and all kids had a space and a place to go where they felt comfortable, where they felt open, where they could work through things instead of over them. The activities taught me how to do that.
— L. R., 13

The aCHIeve Summer Experience

To further impact our community, The aCHIeve Project is launching a summer experience targeted to teens who are looking for ways to influence their world. Through a blend of arts, advocacy and mental health focuses, these 12-18 year olds will gain a deeper understanding of their response to stress and be empowered to advocate for their own mental health. They will create and film a public service announcement entitled, “What it’s Like to be a Teen in 2019.” It will be shown along with our capstone stage production, “Right Before I Go.” This play, written by Stan Zimmerman (writer of TV classics “Gilmore Girls,” “Rosanne” and “The Golden Girls”), is designed to “help broaden public perspective of suicide, eliminate the stigma associated with depression, and strengthen the relationship between survivors and those struggling every day.” This performance is possible in conjunction with La Vie Productions in New York.

This two-week energetic and engaging experience for teens combines the arts with evidence-based therapeutic techniques and exciting guest teachers and expert staff. The combination makes this program truly effective, accessible and relatable to the everyday life of each participant.

June 24 – July 5
(weekdays except July 4th)
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Olney, MD

July 7. 7-9 PM (3 PM call time)
Ratner Museum
Bethesda, MD

A Typical Day

  • Opening and meditation

  • Morning classes (Week One)
    (focusing on any one or more of the following: yoga, dance, creative play, movement)

  • “Right Before I Go” (Week Two)
    (exploring the script and rehearsing for the final production)

  • aCHIeve class
    (looking at a holistic approach to acting, communicating and social-emotional awareness)

  • Lunch

  • PSA workshops
    (including creative planning, strategies, writing, filming/editing, etc.)

  • Guest teacher*
    (featuring the following focuses:: Healthy Mindset, Food as Medicine, Advocacy, Social Media, Music and/or Art)

  • Wrap-up mindfulness group activity

Why Now?

We recognize that the lives and obstacles of our teens look different than our own. We see a need in the community for a call to action that will help our kids. We acknowledge that there are lots of therapeutic opportunities, leadership tracks, and school programs which address mental health concerns but we also fully recognize the gap in how teens implement said skills into their everyday lives.  In conjunction with Flourish Counseling and Wellness Center, we developed this unique program.

We are confident that The aCHIeve Project is the most creative, progressive, multifaceted, and practical program to meet the needs of our teens in this ever-changing landscape. We are thrilled to bring it to the community this summer in The aCHIeve Summer Experience and are in the works to implement the program in Montgomery County Public Schools and other youth-oriented outlets.

Who Are We?

Marni Ratner is an inspired, teacher with over 20 years of experience in the classroom. As a performer, curriculum writer, yoga teacher, performance coach, and energy body worker, she can connect with students on multiple levels that address the whole person. Marni has the uncanny ability to identify where her students are in need of guidance to overcome an issue to best optimize their performance. As an actress, Marni has performed in shows in NYC, National Tours, and regional houses all across America. Marni graduated from The Boston Conservatory of Music with a BM in Musical Theater performance. Marni is the founder of univerSOULspace and created a new Meditation/yoga program call, Move My Chi. 

Melynda Burdette Wintrol is the Arts Integration Manager at Olney Theatre Center and previously served as Director of Education at Adventure Theatre MTC. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Musical Theatre from The Catholic University of America and a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from UMUC. A member of three Helen Hayes nominated ensembles, Melynda has performed with Tony award winning Signature Theatre, Studio Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, American Family Theatre, Prather Entertainment Group, Pallas Theatre Collective, Riverside Center, and Toby’s Dinner Theatre. Melynda is a member of EdTA and serves as a Helen Hayes Judge for theatreWashington.

Andrea Lopes has a master’s degree in social work and has 25 years of clinical experience working with adolescents and adults (specializing in anxiety disorders and depression). Because she has worked closely with teens in her practice at Flourish in Olney, MD, as well as in the community, Andrea understands the issues that kids face today. She recognizes an increasing need for alternative ways to help our kids, particularly in conjunction with mind/body/spirit.

Andrea Diuguid is an educator and youth mentor who specializes in recognizing the inherent worth in children and teens. She has a vast knowledge of learning differences, social-emotional awareness, learning modalities, and community building.

Danielle Kean teaches women how to reduce their anxiety. As a result, they open themselves up to more abundance, acknowledge their value, and gain a better relationship with themselves and others.