Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Community Talkback

Though the audience was small, the conversation was riveting tonight at our first Community Talkback session.  Sixteen members of the coalition shared their passion and vision for the impact teenagers can make on one another's lives, and we were able to start spreading our message of hope, empowerment, and the universality of needing help with a few more members of the community.

A special tanks to reporter Joe Preiner from the LJWorld; his article about the event should appear in tomorrow's paper.  And another thanks to the members of the Kansas Consortium for Youth Voice (KCYV) who joined us as well.  We look forward to collaborating more with you in the future.

So, to kick off the conversation in a more global way, I've decided to post a question generated by the coalition members themselves in the interest of fostering a broader conversation.  Please respond in a comment to this post, and remember to keep responses PG as we are an all access to information organization.

This week's question stems from a large conversation about the accessibility of information online and how unreliable, and often dangerous, that information can be.  We asked each other and--tonight--our audience members for their answer to this question already, but we would love to know what you think:


Monday, February 21, 2011

Please Join Us!

(a teen mentor and counseling program sponsored by 
the Lawrence Arts Center & the GaDuGi Safecenter)
invites you to a COMMUNITY TALKBACK session to discuss issues relevant to teenagers today.
Do you have questions about:
Are you interested in learning how to support your peers when they struggle with any of the above issues?
Come join us for an open, honest conversation about what teens want and need in your community.
6-8 pm
Lawrence Arts Center Theatre
Wednesday 3/9/2011

February Meeting Response--Anonymous

I’m super excited about the Wake Up! Coalition. The thought that there will be a place for teens to go to talk about anything is really promising to me. I’m excited to see this group of people pull together something magical. Teen suicide along with teen pregnancy and sex education is something that I feel is a really important issue. Sometimes the people who seem perfectly fine, if not better are the ones that are suffering the most. Having someone who will listen and help guide you through a rough time can be worth so much to someone. We’ve discussed a lot recently the “threshold” that teens have to cross in order to get help. We feel like our problems are minimal compared to someone else’s and that prevents us from talking to someone, anyone even our friends. To someone dealing with suicide a listener can make all the difference. They need someone who won’t judge you, or try to pry into your life but who will just listen. Sometimes that listener can save a life whether they know it or not. The ones who seem fine, or that don’t feel like they have crossed that threshold could really benefit from this project. I’m really excited for the future of this group. I think we can do a lot of good just by being there. As a place for information, support and care we can make a huge difference to our peers. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

December Response--Lauren Fleming

I would like to say how excited I am about the Wake Up! Coalition.  During our last meeting, I started to realize how amazing this project could be!  It was troubling to hear about the lack of sex education, counselors, and suicide prevention that is missing from the high schools and some of the junior highs. 

The majority of high school students in the Wake Up! Coalition agreed that one of the main problems that we have at school is finding an adult figure to talk to.  The counselors at my high school should be renamed “Schedulers.”  In no way is their occupation to counsel, except about college and classes.  I have never once considered walking into my counselor’s office and expressing my troubles or asking him for advice. The counselors are all wonderful people, but the school needs to consider hiring actual counselors that will be there for students.

If everyone evolved in this program devotes themselves to making the Wake Up! Coalition work (which I have no doubt of) then this program could have a huge impact on the teens in Lawrence.  The possibilities are endless of how we can help out our community, and I am thrilled to see how big of an impact the Wake Up! Coalition will have! 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

December Response--Jake Mather

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

“Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.”

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

When the Wake Up! coalition began, a group of like-minded individuals, young and old, created both forms of Goethe’s magic. A bold move by young adults for believing in themselves that Wake Up! will make a difference, that Wake Up! will make magic. And after sitting in the Wake Up! meeting on December 29, 2010, I believe that anyone present noticed magic was in the air. The magic that permeates this project is powerful because the chemistry between everyone involved is phenomenal. Every meeting, each individual brings something new to the table for discussion. Every meeting, I never want the experience to end. I am incredibly proud of every person involved. I learn things about my friends that never occurred to me before. We make each other believe that we will become a powerful force in the community. We make each other believe that we will correct the wrongs in our society. We believe in ourselves and in the beginnings of our movement. We are bold, we have motivation. Instead of talking the talk like most teens, we are proud to walk the walk as well. I think that is magic in and of itself.

December Response--Alex Hoopes

I just wanted to take the time to say how proud I am of the Wake Up Coalition teens. I was so impressed with how my peers acted at the meeting. I was nervous that my friends, and the Wake Up teens are some of my best friends, would not take the program seriously. I was so wrong. Yesterday, everyone approached our mission with great maturity and focus. It's amazing to see how passionately each teen wants to help with the issues of sex education, teen pregnancy, and suicide. Jake Mather's monologue was particularly moving. His group managed to write a scene that encapsulated everything a troubled kid would feel about sexual orientation and suicide. I couldn't believe these words were coming from the mouth of a kid I'd known for years as being so funny and goofy. The mood in the room was so powerful. Everyone was so determined to create real change. We were not talking about this program as a dream or something that might happen years from now. The Wake Up Coalition is happening now. I'm so excited for it! I can't stop thinking about how wonderful yesterday was and I remember watching the clock hit 4:00 and not wanting to leave. I could've stayed and talked about the issues for hours. I can't wait to go back and really start putting our words to action. Thanks everyone for making that day really special.

December Response--Michelle Stockwell

So many of us don't seek help because our problems are not big enough. We don't need therapy we say. We are healthy and stable people.Healthy people don't need help. 

This mindset sets us up, especially those of us with raging hormones, for failure. Everyone needs help from time to time. As a society, we need to tell one another that asking for help does not take resources away from people with extreme cases, AND that it is normal. As teens, all we crave is a degree of normalcy. Some of us strive to be unique, but have you noticed those people tend to group together? 

So, how do we make asking for help normal? We start with ourselves, we ask for help and show everyone around us that getting help is okay. That a fight with your parents is just as important to talk about with someone trusted as what we consider "severe" issues.

But wait, you say--if you are a devil's advocate--getting help DOES take recources away from those who need it most. And you would be somewhat right, we know our counselors at school have enough on their plates just with coordinating our class schedules. 

The Wake Up Coalition proposes a solution: we will be there to talk to. We will listen and when necessary refer. We won't tell the world that you came in for help, but if you are proud of getting help, tell for us. Show your friends that it is alright. Let us become the healthiest society we can be.

It starts with you.