Archive for February, 2013

Teens Have a Voice on Substance Abuse

February 20th, 2013

Scarborough Teen Leaders

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

Movie Scene

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.

Untying the Knot of Substance Abuse

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.

Scene from Influenced

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!

Biddeford Movie Project

February 20th, 2013

Project AWARE will partner with the Biddeford School Department to engage over 130 teens and adults in the Biddeford Reel Life Project and create a of 30 minute dramatic movie that raises awareness about substance abuse, sexual health, family issues and stress amongst teens. The movie and accompanying features will also explore the cultural heritage of Biddeford from a youth perspective. The programs will be produced by teens, with the support of Project AWARE in 2013 and early 2014.

The program includes teens who are at-risk and will result in the support of numerous teachers, parents and other community members; service learning opportunities and increase of the marketable skills of young people; improved climate for teens at school and in their community as they work on a project together with adults to make a difference; a special Premiere event at the Biddeford City Theater focused on celebrating youth; and a 30 minute movie on DVD, with accompanying educational special features, which will be used as a learning tool for the City, it’s schools and beyond.

The Project AWARE Reel Life Program includes the Summer Film Institute for youth as well as targeted filmmaking that produces high quality, dramatic educational short movies and PSAs created by young people. The program supports teens in telling real life stories in a powerful way.Young people create impactful, high quality movies that address social issues and make a difference. Simply put, the process changes their lives. The Reel Life Program simultaneously empowers and builds sense of worth in the youth, while also providing up-to-date information to the broader community. The dialogue that follows plays a critical role in beginning to shift social norms resulting in healthier young people. It also increases marketable skills in students as they prepare themselves for the job market. As a result of this program, teens with the support of Project AWARE, have produced over 20 PSAs and 9 movies with 5 more in production about issues including prescription drug abuse, bullying, adult role modeling, teen sexual health, and more. Collaborators have included the Maine Department of Education, Acadia Hospital, City of Sanford, City of Biddeford, and Family Planning Association of Maine.

Project AWARE is thrilled to be offering Reel Life in the Biddeford community! We also want to thank our sponsors: City of Biddeford, Biddeford Savings Bank, P & C Insurance, Peoples Choice Credit Union, Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution and Kennebunk Savings Bank.