This is What Lawrence Youth Do on a Friday Night

May 14th, 2014 | By | Category: BLTN Teachers, Issue, Spring 2014
Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 6.13.27 AM-by Lou Bernieri
Director, Andover Bread Loaf

Real Talk: Stand Up, Speak Out!

A conference for Youth and Adults about Creative Responses to Bullying

Andover Bread Loaf’s organizing of a youth-driven public health campaign in Lawrence, Massachusetts, kicked off Friday, May 9, 2014, at Movement City with “REAL TALK: STAND UP, SPEAK OUT,”  a conference for youth and adults featuring creative responses to bullying. Over 70 people attended with the majority from third grade through college. The conference was a collaboration among the goLEAD Program, Movement City, and Andover Bread Loaf (ABL). Planning for the conference began with a three-day goLEAD high school retreat run by Jared Raverby (Movement City) and Victor Martinez (Lawrence Communityworks) three months ago. Once the youth chose a topic to work on and decided an ABL-style conference was the way to go, a group met every other week with Jared and me to construct the three and one-half hour conference.

The evening was spectacular, beginning with performances by the Guest Artists, the Movement City Spoken Word Team (coached by Writing Leader Keyla Rodriguez), and the Movement City Improvisation Team. The inspiring and witty performances set the tone for the day. Participants then chose one of four different workshops that offered creative responses to bullying: Dance, Improv, Mural, or Spoken Word. An intern (college student or recent college graduate) from Movement City led each workshop.

After the workshops, everyone shared a meal and prepared for the culminating showcase where each breakout workshop displayed the work they had done. This was classic Movement City, where youth from third grade and up created remarkable artistic responses to bullying. One theme in the conference was to consider the antidote to bullying: love and community. These values were a big part of each presentation, and what electric presentations they were! Each one greeted with cheers, clapping, and finger snaps!

The great success of this conference further empowered the goLead youth who constructed the conference. They are committed to continuing their efforts next year to improve the lives of other youth in the city. Andover Bread Loaf Associate Director, Rich Gorham, punctuated the event with his wry comment, “This is what Lawrence youth do on a Friday night.”

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