Spring 2017

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42 SAG-AFTRA | Spring 2017 | n March 2015, President Obama issued a formidable challenge to the entertainment industry: Pledge 1 million hours of mentoring over the next three years. SAG-AFTRA and the American Film Institute joined forces in the A Call to Arts program to answer the president's challenge. Over the coming months, members rose to the occasion and, along with industry partners, achieved that goal in just under two years. "It is an impressive feat that SAG-AFTRA members pulled together to help achieve 1 million hours of mentoring well in advance of the 2018 deadline. I am immensely proud of their efforts and I want to thank them and our partners for all their hard work," said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. "It's another example of how, when SAG-AFTRA members set their minds to something, the sky is the limit." The reason members were willing to put forth the herculean effort was simple: They understand the importance of mentorship. Most successful actors, broadcasters and recording artists among the ranks of the SAG-AFTRA membership have had a person who inspired and encouraged them to pursue such challenging but rewarding careers. Along the way, members who were part of the effort have found they have made new connections, learned more about themselves and others and have gained far more than they have given. The initiative began in March 2015, when then-SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard and National Executive Director David White were invited to the White House Student Film Festival and asked Hilary Swank to attend with them. Starting with SAG-AFTRA and AFI, the program expanded to involve partners throughout the industry, including the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, the Art of Elysium, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, The Actors Fund, the Television Academy and the Museum of the Moving Image, among many others. Mentors recorded their mentoring hours at All told, more than 350,000 people were mentored, with an impressive 25 percent of the total hours coming from the efforts of SAG-AFTRA members through union events. Another organization that made an outsized contribution was the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, which contributed about 20 percent, especially through its BookPALS, The Business, Casting Access and Conversations programs. "We've been mentoring thousands of actors through classes, seminars, workshops, panels and Q&As with top industry professionals. We are also bringing dedicated actors into public schools around the country to read to children and encourage their love of reading and the written word," said Cyd Wilson, Executive Director of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. "We will continue to serve A Call to Arts and

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