Take a Shot at Changing the World was inspired by the Steeltown-produced film The Shot Felt 'Round the World, which told the story of Jonas Salk and his team at the University of Pittsburgh, working together with first with a community, and then with a nation to conquer what was once the most feared disease of the 20th Century: polio. Steeltown gave copies of the film to area schools, and asked students to make their own films that connected the development of the Salk Polio Vaccine in Pittsburgh to current eradication efforts around the world. Over 265 kids changed the world by raising awareness about a largely forgotten disease, and inspiring a new generation to care and to act.
The 2011-2012 school year introduced an innovative program that combined the power of digital media with social activism. "Take a Shot at Changing the World: The Sequel" challenged middle and high school students in Southwestern Pennsylvania to create films that focus on important moments in Pittsburgh's past where individuals changed the world, all the while asking, "How can I help? What can I do to change my world?" Movie themes included environmental issues, Pittsburgh's polio past and current eradication worldwide, or anything that had a local connection and inspired students.
Steeltown is now partnering with Voices of a People's History to pilot a new program that builds on the legacy of Howard Zinn. The goal of Voices of a People’s History of the United States is to encourage civic engagement and to further history education by bringing the rich history of the United States to life through dramatic readings, interpretations, and re-enactments of primary-source materials. Based on their success implementing curriculum and lesson plans in Chicago Public Schools, Steeltown is working with Voices to launch this program in Pittsburgh area schools, adding a filmmaking component, to inspire a new generation to work towards social justice.