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Meet Amy Ludwig of MOSTe Motivating Our Students Through Experience in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Ludwig.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Amy. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up in a creative family in New York City. Starting in middle school, I fell in love with doing theater – not only because I loved collaborating with other passionate people, but because together we got to create vibrant imaginary worlds. I pursued my interest in theater through high school, college, drama school and beyond, moving to Chicago to join the flourishing storefront theater community. Over years of working as a director, actor, and teacher, I developed into a writer as well, adapting Sandra Cisneros’ novel “The House On Mango Street” for the stage. I moved to Los Angeles in 2003 to pursue screenwriting, winning acceptance to the Warner Brothers Comedy Writing Workshop. I wrote and pitched scripts with a partner for several years, also serving as the researcher on Fox TV’s BONES. Feeling the need for more stability, I reinvented myself as a marketing copywriter. That foundation allowed me to volunteer as a mentor with MOSTe and working with these students changed my life again. After ten years as a mentor and board member with the organization, I became Executive Director in 2018.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Are there any smooth roads? In my early work as a theater director, I became painfully aware that there were few models for women in creative leadership. The established pattern was to be a) male, and b) autocratic. Women who behaved the same way were called “bossy” or worse, and women who worked to build consensus were accused of not knowing their minds. I’ve also found it challenging to have a wide range of interests, rather than a single focus from an early age. One of the things I love about working with MOSTe is how it brings together so many strands of my previous experience, including teaching, collaborating, empowering young women and helping them share their stories.

Please tell us about MOSTe Motivating Our Students Through Experience.
MOSTe is a mentoring and college-access program with the mission to help girls from underserved areas of Los Angeles County go to and through college. We recruit girls from our six partner middle schools, working with them to develop their confidence, communication skills, and positive self-image as future college graduates. We also match our scholars with professional female mentors, who serve as a support system and introduce them to different activities and areas of the city. In high school, we encourage our scholars’ academic achievements, increase their awareness of different career paths, and build their college knowledge. Starting in 11th grade, our college counselor works one-on-one with each student to help her choose the colleges that are the best fit for her, and that will offer her the strongest financial aid package. Our thriving college graduates have recently launched their own events to support each other through their early career challenges, called Women of MOSTe: Alumnae Network, or WOM:AN.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I feel very fortunate to have grown up with a strong sense of community. Most of the families on our block knew each other, and lots of us kids played together on the sidewalk after school until our moms called us in for dinner. As I grew older, I babysat for younger children across the street. We also had an active block association that organized cleanups, planting days, and strolling caroling every Christmas. It gave us all a cosy small-town feeling, even though we were in the middle of New York City. It also taught me how interconnected a neighborhood can be, and how important it is to reach out and help each other if we can.

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