Project AWARE teams up with the Scarborough High School for an innovative student-driven educational program. The Reel Life Program simultaneously educates, empowers and builds a sense of worth in youth, while also providing up-to-date information to the
broader community. While funds are still needed for the project, it is expected that students from Scarborough High School will work closely with Project AWARE to create a dramatic 30 – 45 minute movie highlighting substance abuse as an important issue that in some way touches the life of almost every teen. The movie will serve to bring this topic out of the shadows in an honest and real way. The project provides a unique opportunity for students to employ their skills and interests in a variety of areas from writing to acting, filming and directing. The film they create will be used as a teaching tool in classrooms to generate conversations that have a lasting impact on individuals and school climate as a whole. And the movie will play on TV for thousands more.
Substance use and abuse is a widespread issue that effects the life of every teen and making healthy choices can be challenging, given the daily pressures teens face. It is well documented among teens in Maine, with alcohol and marijuana use at the top of the list. Results of the 2011 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS) for high schools in Cumberland County reveal the following information about substance use among teens. Among seniors, 41.6% indicated they drank alcohol in the past 30 days. With regard to marijuana use, 30.9% of seniors reported use in the past 30 days. Additionally, there is an upward trend in teens’ perception that there is minimal health risk for marijuana usage. These statistics do not include the many other ways students are affected by substance use, including use within their homes. There are many reasons teens choose to use substances and it can lead to addiction which can be painful and severe. Through this project, the perceptions of teens and the influence that parents, educators, and society have will send a powerful message, and have lasting impact.
Through education and programming the project will reach over 150 youth and many adults during the course the year. And then with the resulting movie, thousands more through DVD and on TV. It will positively impact the school environment and produce healthier better-educated youth with real life, project-based, team-focused, movie-making experience!