Common, Matt Damon, Jon Hamm and more famous faces are swapping scripts for stories written by children as part of a new initiative that encourages kids to put pen to paper — even when school’s not in session.
Stories From Tomorrow is a new project that urges kids to embrace their writing skills with a very enticing reward: the chance to have it read aloud on social media by actors, sports stars and pageant queens.
Stars like Common, Damon, Michelle Monaghan, Hamm, Kyle Chandler, Matthew Broderick, Danny Glover, Casey Affleck, Vanessa Kirby, Katherine Waterston, Jason Segel, Elias Harger, Garbiñe Muguruza, Dilshad Vadsaria, Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi and Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst will all be amplifying young voices by reading submissions on the project’s Instagram page.
In a special clip shared exclusively with PEOPLE, Common lent his voice to a story called “Fear,” written by 13-year-old Medhanit.
He, Damon and Monaghan, meanwhile, appeared in a special PSA inviting children to send over their best works.
“Now more than ever, children need an outlet to process their feelings and emotions in a way that heals and bridges divides,” Room to Read’s Heather Simpson said in the PSA.
Stories From Tomorrow is the brainchild of Affleck, who came up with the idea with his mother Christine, a longtime public school teacher, as a means of keeping kids engaged over summer break.
“Creative writing can be a good way to process anxiety and loss,” Affleck said in a statement. “By sharing the stories publicly we hope to make [children] feel heard and empowered, and to encourage them to write more.”
The project — also founded by S-hekh Shem Hetep and Annika Virdone — will pair story submissions with celebrities with help from writer Elizabeth Baxa, and will benefit Feeding America’s child hunger programs and Room to Read’s literacy and girls’ education program.
Budding writers ages 5-18 can send original stories and poems to storiesfromtomorrow[at]gmail.com for the chance to have theirs read, and those who want to donate can do so at Pledgeling or by texting TOMORROW to 707070.
The project will launch on June 14, which is International Children's Day.