The Gender Equality Awareness Resolution Conference, or G.E.A.R. Up., is a youth-led conference organized by students from Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School to help bring awareness to issues of rape culture, LGBTQ healthy relationships and safe sex. It’s purpose is to educate teens on making smart decisions by empowering them to transform from a dependent student to an independent critical thinker. Workshops will be youths led by peer educators from a variety of organizations to lead educational and interactive workshops.
In Crystal’s words: “The intended impact I hope to make is educating students on what they can do in any unjust situations where they feel they're being mistreated and making an effort to dismantle the specific issues of rape culture, unprotected sex, unhealthy relationships and LGBTQ. Also inviting speakers who already do related work in these fields to the conference will give a face for people that can learn and get help from instead of just a phone number or a website. The clear outcomes for this conference is to teach students about these issues and how they can create safe environments and supply them with useful resources.
Abe Stanton, 12th grader at Lafayette Big Picture -- Lafayette, NY
The program will be directed toward at-risk students, but will be open to anyone and everyone. The program will provide a way to get kids engaged in something that is healthy for their minds and will keep them off of the streets. In a day and age where most families simply cannot afford to purchase an instrument or pay for expensive lessons, the PVC Youth Orchestra program will put forward an opportunity for students to explore and learn music.
I have an extensive background in music. I have always loved music, and I strive to learn to play as many instruments as I can. I play a multitude of instruments such as Piano, Flute, and Saxophone, and I am well-versed in music theory. I have been studying music for over ten years, and both my knowledge and passion have inspired me to compose and arrange music, as well as conduct a wind orchestra. My love of music and instruments of all sorts has also led me to study the physics of sound. As part of my exploration of sound (and potential instrument designs for the PVC Orchestra program), I recently constructed a marimba-like instrument dubbed “Rimbatubes”. I plan to use the Rimbatubes as one of the many instruments that students can choose to build and play.
I also have lots of experience working with students of varying ages and from many different walks of life. I have been able to observe how drastically even the most difficult of students change once an instrument that they have crafted themselves is set in their hands. When they are told “this is yours to express yourself with”, their mindsets completely change. One example of this phenomenon is the paper instruments that elementary school students make when they first begin their studies with the Sistema Winnipeg String Orchestra program. Even though the instruments are fake and are simply meant to teach kids how to take care of and treat a real violin, viola, or cello, they grow to appreciate and love their instruments. I aim to replicate that same result within an older demographic. By having each individual student construct a fully functional instrument out of PVC, they learn just how much work goes into each and every individual instrument, and discover a passion within themselves that they have never seen before. I aspire to create a program that helps students find something that they love and want to pursue, so they stay off the streets and direct their energy into something positive.
I will be helping the student community throughout my entire city, and if things go the way that I intend them to, then eventually I will end up helping students from across my province, and maybe even farther. In order to know that my project is successful, I will pilot the program out of a school in my city for one year. If there is an increase in interest after one year, and more of a demand for enrollment in the program, then I know that I have succeeded. The clear outcome (in the beginning phases of this long-term project) is the PCV Youth Orchestra running out of one school in my city, at least 40 students enrolled in the program, and a team of 10 people to run the program.I am passionate about this project because I never had the chance to join an orchestra. For a long time, I wanted more than anything to participate in my city's youth orchestra, but wasn't able to due to the costs of buying a good quality instrument and paying for the lessons. The idea of a PVC orchestra is close to my heart because it will present students who are my age with the opportunity to pursue music for free, while keeping the program affordable for the school division that funds it. Nothing makes me happier than being able to share my passion for music with others, and being able to provide others with a way to express themselves would be a dream come true.