Our teens have been making a productive noise lately, from the peaceful walk outs to protest Trump’s Presidency to becoming innovators and creating different platforms where thoughts, feelings and opinions of youth can be seen, heard and shared.
We have had the opportunity to meet and engage with a group of youth leaders that have been apart of the construction of a new production called “Counter Stories”.
Counter Stories is a show created for and by teens sponsored by a non profit organization called “Men Can Stop Rape”. Men Can Stop Rape also has a youth development division that coordinates youth clubs, called, “MOS CLUBS”, which stands for Men of Strength and MOST WISE, which is an acronym for Woman Inspiring Strength and Empowerment.
While talking to the producers and teens of “Counter Stories” we gained a lot of insight on the teen perspective touching a couple of issues. Teen topics like fashion, politics, and music are presented and spoken upon during the show Counter Stories. The participating teens have made a decision to elevate and change the perception of young black youth to others and did so by becoming the leaders of their label through presenting , Counter Stories. “I think there is a stereotype that people have created against African American people. We have those stereotypes that we are thugs, we get shot and our lives don’t matter. This show gives us a voice and shows them our lives do matter! I believe this documentary will break barriers so deep and show that we are here and will remain here to impact the world,” says Counter Story youth member.
Most teens go through more in their short time of living than an adult may encounter within a lifetime. Programs and after school activities are being cut profusely out of the county and state budgets which leaves nothing free and structured for the youth to do between the hours of leaving school and going to sleep. According to the American Institute for research, youth that participate in activities after school have a better chance of academic achievement, social, emotional success and better chances to develop a healthy lifestyle.
If the youth have no outlet only less effective events are bound to happen by youth with free time on their hands. So what does that mean? It means that keeping creative outlets and youth programs not just afloat, but thriving should be a community goal to ensure that we are enriching our youth with positive, mental and physical development.
Check out what the youth are talking about on this episode of Counter Stories below.