TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
Lili Jardine, centre, a teacher at Vincent Massey High School and the community drug and alcohol education co-ordinator for the Brandon School Division, poses for a photo with her student advisory group volunteers who have helped organize the Brandon School Division's Youth Revolution.
Watch out, Brandon: the Youth Revolution is coming.
Organized by Lili Jardine, a teacher at Vincent Massey High School and the community drug and alcohol education co-ordinator for the Brandon School Division, this initiative will aim to motivate pre-teens and teens to become involved in positive activities during their free time.
"This group will promote healthy life choices in order to minimize the use of drugs and alcohol," said Jardine in her classroom on Wednesday, surrounded by a group of 20 or so student-volunteers.
She has invited all the middle years schools and high schools in the Brandon School Division to participate in Youth Revolution. As well, she recruited helpers from Grade 9 to 12 at Vincent Massey and designated them her advisory group.
Together, these students as well as others who join the bandwagon from other schools will come up with ideas to present to their peers.
"They'll start creating waves in the city. The idea is for these students to inspire other students, to mentor them, to influence them in a positive way so they'll make the right choices," she said. "Of course, the changes aren't going to be drastic, but we have to start somewhere. If we don't do anything, things will remain as they are."
Another aim of Youth Revolution is to trigger conversations about positive interests, hobbies and ways to spend time alone and with others.
"I think this is a really good idea. This involves all the schools and has the whole city working together in a way," said Grade 12 student Katryn Weber, who is an avid reader, writer and participant in the Vincent Massey Latin dance group. "The fact that you can do more fun things in organized groups, instead of just doing things on your own, should appeal to lots of kids."
To kick off this new approach to reducing drug and alcohol use, Jardine has organized a day-long forum.
Throughout the year, there will be further meetings, some to outline proposals driven by the students and to be implemented in their schools and to keep abreast of the interest in the schools' general student population.
"In May, I would like to have a ceremony. It will have everybody who was involved," she said. "We'll celebrate all the things that we did in the year."
For students who take the time to submit ideas or participate in some of the events, they will enjoy a Youth Revolution gift -- a micro spot.
This small square, which can be applied to cellphones, MP3 players, hand-held video game players and other electronics, not only sports the Youth Revolution logo, but can be used to clean the device's screen.
"If someone asks: 'What is that?' the student can talk about Youth Revolution. It's a way to promote what it's all about," Jardine said.
The Youth Revolution's first student forum will take place Wednesday at the ag centre on Hill Avenue south of Neelin High School. The day-long event will include motivational speaker/composer/producer/rock musician Mitch Dorge, of Crash Test Dummies fame, along with videos, live entertainment and various proactive activities to give the city-wide project some momentum.
This new movement will focus on middle and high school students.
For details, visit daeducation.wordpress.com.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 1, 2010 A4