BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — A few local nonprofit organizations were awarded a $1 million grant to address youth substance abuse in southeast Bakersfield, and the way they’re going about raising awareness is through filmmaking.
Several organizations are recruiting youth between the ages of 16 and 24 to survey residents and interview civic leaders, business owners, and others, to find solutions for signature issues like drug and alcohol use among young people in our area.
“Why are signs targeting young people for alcohol use? Why are drugs so common? Why has vaping skyrocketed?” These are the questions that Dr. Dixie King Executive Director of Transitional Youth Mobilizing for Change, or TYM4Change, and the youth constructing this film project are seeking.
“We don’t want to see our kids hospitalized, we don’t want to see their physical health compromised, we don’t want to see them making choices that they would not make if they weren’t under the influence because those choices can have some long-term consequences.”
King adds that one of the myths is that youth substance abuse is normal, and young people can be exposed to it when it comes to social gatherings.
“It becomes a game for young people. Parties where the entrance to the party is to bring prescription meds. The idea that our young people have such a low threshold of understanding about their own vulnerability and that is typical of teens.”
Arleana Waller, ShePower Global Ambassador, said that this is a really unique opportunity for Kern County to get this kind of grant to show our young people how to advocate and legislate on behalf of their voices.
“We know that that’s a huge problem and that it has really taken a lot of our youth. We really want our youth to step forward. This is the time for your voices to be heard. This is the time for you to say what is important to you.
The substance use prevention film is currently in the works and it is set to come out within the next 3 years.
For young people ages 16 to 24 that are interested in volunteering for this project you can visit their website.