Band of Brothers
For a tiny cup of holiday cheer, here is a pint-sized dose of “It Gets Better” via a pack of grade school students from Bridgewater MA. The story centers around 1st grader Danny Keefe who is a waterboy for older classmates on the school’s football team. Because he suffered a brain hemorrhage at birth, he has grown slower than most children and he has also dealt with speech defects as a result. Both attributes make him a prime candidate for bullying from others that may not understand his uniqueness.
Danny is a vibrant spirit though, and is easily spotted by the sporty suit coats and ties he wears to school. Unfortunately, they make him an even more noticeable target for persecution. So this month, 45 of his teammates decided to make a show of solidarity by also donning a coat and tie. From this YouTube clip you can see both how heartfelt and empowering this was for all. It gives great hope for younger generations which we strive for here at YPC.
Creativity in Education
This discussion has been boiler plate fodder for the last half a decade. No Child Left Behind, Standardized Testing, Common Core… All these buzz words coming at us from academia. Education was a major topic in this months election across the state as many are trying to find solutions for a system that seems to be lagging and ineffective.
That is why I found this clip so refreshing. It is from a young TN student named Ethan Young from Knoxville presenting at his school board meeting. He boldly challenges the current demands of achievement that are being sought in all forms of the classroom. Everyone wants a quantifiable method of measuring that rare chemistry that happens in a room between a teacher and student. He goes on to state that our American population wants facts that are not measurable. And how that is breeding a sense of fear in our great educators. He speaks to creativity, imagination and everything else that we are advocates of at a theater company. Inspiring and wise beyond his years. I am hoping it finds ears that give it some consideration.
Children in Politics
This post is a week late following our local elections. But still very appropriate in terms of youth activisim. It is a young girl named Madison Kimrey from North Carolina – a mere 12 years old. And before we even start to comment on the mere 12 years old, listen to the eloquence and wisdom exuding from her.
She is at an advocacy rally and her platform is the recent repeal of voter privileges for young constituents. She has 6 years until she is even eligible, but comes to the mic with quite a bit to say. She chastises her current state panel for their lack of informed research and bad judgement. Her voice is definitely heard. Give it a listen!
Next Generation has it All Figured Out
One of the resounding effects of being around youth, is the sheer audacity of their perspective sometimes. As adults become jaded over time, they often remain open and inclusive. But don’t mistake that for naivete! I think it is more about them being able to tolerate others.
I often follow the video blogs of Kids React. The concept is to place a small sampling of youth around a computer monitor and exposure them to world events, record their reactions and then question them about what they have just seen. In this installment, they are confronted with marriage equality in the form of two proposals; both by same sex couples. For all the ire and battles in the press, it is telling that most of them barely batted an eye. A few of the younger ones found it hard to put the concept into words from their perspective. But after sorting it out, only the youngest one that still failed to form his own opinion. The older students were true champions of the cause and also very articulate about where they stood on it.
It is a 15 minute clip, but well worth the viewing.
Sir Nicholas Winton
One last follow-up to our fabulous Fall show kicking off our 25th anniversary season. It is another survival story as we had so many chances to share in this monumental production of And Then They Came For Me. As we get older and more years separate us, the remaining legacy has fewer people who actually lived through it still among us.
This was a clip I stumbled onto where Nicholas Winton was honored on a British television show called “That’s Life” back in 1988. Like Schindler, he was responsible for saving over 600 children from occupied Czechoslovakia during the uprising. On this show he was unaware that he was seated amongst many of the names he had saved. Nicholas is still alive in 2013 at the age of 104 and had a large campaign to honor him with the Nobel Peace prize just this year.
Betty Crocker Rules
In the spirit of MEAN, tolerance, and all good things inclusion. This is a follow-up from the great folks at our own General Mills this summer during the pride festival. They have been one of the rare corporate powers to be bold in the face of discrimination. Rather than be pro-gay marriage, they took their stance along the lines of pro-family; however that is viewed. I remember them at the Pride festival with their colorful truck handing out rainbow confetti angel food cake mixes and having cupcakes to decorate in every color of the rainbow.
This is a new companion video with their pledge “The more we learn about the strengths of every kind of family, the more we can all share in each other’s success.” A beautiful statement that is part of their Families Project. But local!!
This is from a church message last weekend. Highly crediting the quotes to Suzy Messerole who is also a theater colleague with a long history of directing in the Twin Cities.
She gave a testimony about her dad who is dealing with Parkinson’s and thus having to invest in some heavy vocal coaching so that he does not lose his voice – literally. One concept is to “dwell on the vowels.” The consonants are just the decoration. Know what the important things are you want to say are. But more importantly – “to speak from your toes.” So that it resonates from the core of your body. Her dad shows marked improvement, but stated that he feels like he is talking too loud and is not used to being such a strong presence. He feels like he is shouting.
Suzy used this all as a metaphor of being heard, knowing your voice and making a difference. Even if it feels uncomfortable to yourself, it is so important to take that leap and put it out there. Otherwise we are just mumbling and not being heard. As always at YPC – Think Loud. Be Bold.
WE are the World
Just in case any of our followers have been living under a rock, or have been too busy to notice. Tomorrow is a banner day for the Youth of Minnesota. It is a brand new festival having its inauguration on Oct 8th at the Excel Center in St Paul. It is promising access to a lucky 18,000 young people and the catch is that they have had to earn their way in. By doing two acts of charity – one in the community and one in the bigger global world.
In addition to a vast roster of politicians and motivational speakers, there is a mammoth slate of performers on hand including the Jonas Brothers, Carly Rae Jepsen, Jennifer Hudson, Devi Lovato…. on and on. Each of them is inspiring in the deeds they have done as role models for their generation. It is being labeled and the Movement of Our Time and it will truly be that. “Be Leaders, Not Followers.” To be a fly on the walls of the auditorium.
Check it Out!