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May 31, 2013

REACHing out to youths through the creative arts

A new N.G.O. introduced itself publicly on Thursday; it is called Research, Education and Advocacy for Social Change.  As the name suggests, REACH will be actively promoting social change. In so doing it will develop the potential of youths caught in the vicious cycle of violence; all this through the different forms of the creative arts.  On Thursday, fifteen youths told their stories through arts as the first initiative of REACH. The exhibition which is taking place tonight at the Image Factory is called Imagine Nation and the message is powerful. Duane Moody was on hand and has this report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

It was an exhibit of pure talent…music, poetry and visual arts…as several Belizean youths tell their powerful stories of community self-evaluation, social change and youth empowerment. And like any artist, these youths are inspired.

 

For Juan Galvez, it is like “running away from home without leaving home.” An insightful statement in which he believes art is a way for the youth of Belize to escape from all societal issues. Galvez along with Ty Johnson took to drawing paper without fear and came up with a ninja assassin comic book.

 

Juan Galvez, Member, REACH

“As a youth, we are limited because our parents don’t want us to do this, but want us to do that. We don’t really have a say in our lives.  In my opinion art, is the only way of running away from home without leaving home. When I’m doing art, I am myself. I find ways to express myself, express my feelings and this would allow people to express how they feel.”

 

Ty Johnson, Member, REACH

“We find this very important for us and very inspiring to us because not everyone has a voice in Belize. Young men right now are being targeted and we just want to find a safe haven—a way for us to escape and not to worry about anything. So this is like a stress relief. Some youths find violence as a way to express themselves and we want to use that energy and put it towards something through art.”

 

But his art is not only about anger says Kyraan Gabourel. He vents through his poems. Poetry can be fun, a reflection on personal life, experiences and truth.

 

Kyraan Gabourel, Member, REACH

“It is not all about anger. It is about expression. So it’s about your truth. You express your truth through whatever medium—whether it is art, poetry, music, even social media—you just have a platform to express yourself. So our point is to get out there and give youths a voice. It is not in the traditional way that youths are to be seen and not heard. We have a voice and it is time to change that and utilize our voice.”

 

Meanwhile, Aaron Edwards indulges in photography.

 

Aaron Edwards, Member, REACH

“Every little thing that I see, I take a picture of. A child could be walking and I take a picture of it and to me that is art.”

 

Duane Moody

“But why? What is the benefit of doing it though?”

 

Aaron Edwards

“Because when you live life, you happen to miss the little things in life that you are supposed to cherish. I take those little pieces and I make it into one big thing that you could understand.”

 

It’s the first major initiative of newly formed N.G.O., Research, Education and Advocacy for Social Change (REACH). The exhibit entitled Imagine Nation captures the spirit and vision of fifteen youths.

 

Christopher Vasquez, Member, REACH

“This initiative bears considerable importance in context of expert research findings regarding male neglect and the rapid escalation in social violence experienced over the past few years.  I believe itself at a critical juncture. I believe that by documenting and telling the story of how our social environment is affecting our dreams, frustrations and outlook we can inspire a grassroots movement for positive empowerment of the youth.  REACH initiative. REACH plans to expand this platform for youth expression by fostering meaningful discussion about issues of top importance to the youth using social media.”

 

Kyraan Gabourel

“My voice is being heard so my mission is accomplished. I just hope that I can reach out to other youths and allow them to come to us and we help foster their techniques, their talent and just push them out there and be yourself. Be yourself; it is about self expression.”

 

The art exhibit and poetry performance officially opens on Friday night at seven-thirty. Duane Moody for News Five.

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2 Responses for “REACHing out to youths through the creative arts”

  1. OriginalWoman says:

    AWESOME!!!! CUDOS TO YOU ALL ORGANIZERS AND YOUTH PARTICIPANTS!!!!

  2. history minded says:

    Impressive initiative

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