Our Story

The School of Life Project consists of two parts:

  • A Video Journal Kiosk that captures children’s views of themselves and their world annually as they grow, resulting in a time capsule of themselves growing up.
  • The School of Life Ambassador’s Film Project made up of 250 kids in ten countries across the world. Its aim is to develop media curriculum to let other kids know that they are not alone on the road to growing up.

In 2001, filmmaker Rick Stevenson set out to make a documentary series, The 5000 Days Project. His plan was to interview 60 children in the Seattle area annually for 13 years (5000 days) and ask each one a series of questions that would reveal what it’s like to grow up in America today. 5000 days later, the project expanded into ten countries and transformed into The School of Life Project.

What Stevenson has witnessed over the years is much more profound and sobering than even the growth of a child. In nearly every interview, he has experienced firsthand the vulnerability and challenges that face kids and the isolation they feel during their teenage years. As sobering as the interviews have been, they have also been promising.

Educators who have screened the resulting films have noticed three patterns among teens:

  1. By being asked to be self-analytical at the least self-analytical time of their lives, participants began to process all that was happening to them in a much healthier way. Instead of being victims of their problems, they were more likely to become masters of them.
  2. No matter what a child’s background, natural gifts, and experiences, each and every child feels terribly alone when faced with the challenges of growing up.
  3. When children have the opportunity to see the stories of The School of Life Project, they realize they’re not alone in their fears and insecurities, giving them encouragement and support in the challenges they face.

We believe that every child is legendary, and we believe that kids and teens have within themselves the keys to unlocking their own futures in the face of myriad external pressures and expectations. We believe, in fact, that kids are their own best authors of their lives, and that learning to tell their own stories as they run the gauntlet of adolescence is a vital means of helping kids find themselves before they lose themselves.

Our Mission: The School of Life Project empowers kids to unleash the potential of their own stories into their own lives.

Get Started

Kids and teens are only young once, and then these moments are gone forever. Capture them. Contact us to get started now.

“Beyond love, shelter, food and security, perhaps one of the greatest gifts we can give a child is a sense of emotional awareness. Even as adults we recognize and yet can still struggle with the puzzling psychological, familial and instinctive forces that influence our choices and ultimately the course of our lives.

Throughout the course of this project, we’ve found that there is nothing more empowering than to give our youth the ability to move from victim to master of those mysterious forces and to realize that they are, and can be, the authors of their own lives.”

- Rick Stevenson, Director/Founder

Rick Stevenson was recently profiled as a Game Changer in Australia’s The Collective.