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Detroit Creativity Project helps kids with anxiety

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Posted at 11:53 AM, May 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-09 11:56:59-04

(WXYZ) — Reduce anxiety, increase your joy and bond with family and friends from a safe distance! Could Improvisational acting games be the key?

The Detroit Creativity Project has been teaching improv in Detroit schools, and at Wayne state university for more than five years. It was started by celebrity actors with a passion for Detroit, who want their students to keep on learning and playing.

You’ve seen him in Brooklyn 99, The Good Place, Dead to Me season 2 on Netflix and many many other shows, actor Marc Evan Jackson started The Detroit Creativity Project with some of his friends – other successful Hollywood actors with Detroit ties – as a class in Detroit schools and after school.

A three-year University of Michigan study found the students in Detroit Creativity Project classes experienced a 40 percent reduction in conditions like anxiety and depression, a big reason Jackson felt the instruction should continue in the midst of such an uncertain time.

"Improv is a great life skill for everybody because it teaches you to say yes to things, to get on board and to collaborate and to be part of the conversation, and it teaches you that you are already equipped to have everything you need to have these relationships and have this fun," said Marc Evan Jackson.

"A lot of us have moved out to Hollywood, so one of the very first videos we made as a sample was made by Tim Meadows from Saturday Night Live," says Jackson.

The improv games can be played over the phone, with people in your household or with neighbors from a safe distance. New videos are posted every Monday to the Improv Project YouTube channel. Or you can learn more here.

"Improv teaches empathy, that nothing is impossible, that when things get tough it’s not a lasting condition," said Jackson.

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