Thursday, May 12, 2011

Project AWARE Summer Film Institute

We just received word of this amazing opportunity from our friends at Project AWARE and Carl Lakari. Know any aspiring young filmmakers? Please pass this along!
By now you may have heard about our 4th annual Summer Film Institute to be held in August. I am writing today to ask you to help Project AWARE by getting the word out. In particular we have found that getting the info out to parents can help youth get involved in this program.

We find the best way to get kids involved is word of mouth and direct connection. It is hard to explain in flyers and e-mails this amazing opportunity.

It has been life-changing for many attendees (please note there are active links below that you can use for more information) :

  • Two (13 and 14 years old) attendees created a PSA on parenting that ultimately served as the basis for Project AWARE’s 3rd movie Influenced. This award-winning movie was created at the 2009 institute and is available on DVD;
  • Ten Sanford kids who attended the Institute went back to school, got involved in their film club, and created the award-winning movie April’s Heart;
  • A young women returned to her school and created a PSA with her new skills; it received rave reviews and the commercial was picked up, re-produced professionally and aired nationally;
  • A PSA created on teen pregnancy has received over 130,000 views on You Tube and has sparked deep conversation about this contentious issue;
  • Recently an 8th grader used his PSA and story on bullying in his hometown; it now airs on broadcast TV in Maine and he was nominated and chosen as a top 10 finalist for a $10,000 Colin Higgins Youth Courage Award from thousands of applicants nationwide;
  • 4 young women created a powerful video about sexual assault as they processed their own childhood experiences. Sexual Assault Response Services is planning to use the PSA for education in schools;
  • Finally, a 14 year old teen was able to write, direct, and lead in her own movie about the healthy passions of youth. A Shoestring for Mackenzie is planned for a Fall 2011 release.

Attendees are using their experience at this summer day camp, located in Saco Maine, to learn new skills, build their resumes, process their own experiences, and bond with peers while making a difference. The experience is full, it is all created by youth, very high quality and about issues we hear about every day on the news.

Once there, kids are engaged and excited about this work. Help us with outreach – change a young person’s life! And also think about sponsoring youth to attend if your budget allows for it. It has been very successful (as you can see above!) in the past.

Please let me know if you are able to help. I recommend this e-mail along with the attached flyer with a few sentences of personal encouragement. List-servs, schools, parents, kids and many other venues are possible choices for networking.

Thank you in advance!
Thanks to Carl and Project AWARE for providing youth with this opportunity to be creative and make a difference! The flyer for the program is below:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Prom and Graduation Season is fast approaching...

Work hard, play hard! School teaches us so much more than the three R's. It's also about life's balancing acts: work/play, eat/sleep, and hang on/let go are the top demands in a household with teens. Prom and graduation season certainly highlights the hang on/let go balancing act for parents of juniors and seniors.

While adulthood may seem like a stone's throw away, it's not a reality for older teens. In fact, their judgment is still under construction -- until their mid 20's. Sadly, there are far too many tragic stories of what happens when a teenager's limited judgment is further impaired by alcohol -- beyond drinking and driving, studies show links between alcohol and drownings, falls, assaults and sexual violence.

All Maine's teens are at risk for underage drinking. One of the top protective factors for reducing underage drinking is parents. Talk to your teen about the risks, let them know you do not want them to drink. Ask about their plans, and don't be afraid to ask whether there will be alcohol present -- and to
say no if there will be.

There are lots of opportunities for letting go and giving your teen freedom and responsibility. When it comes to alcohol, they just aren't ready.

21 Reasons May Tip of the Month!

Read more on this topic in the Portland Press Herald's April 21, 2011 OpEd piece.

Looking for resources? is a great place to start.