Youth shine spotlight on the challenges felt in Clallam County

A group of local youth driven to inspire positive changes will expose the underbelly of Clallam County through two creative and engaging performances.

League of Women Voters

League of Women Voters

Youth Empowerment Project

What: Interactive performance intended to spur social change, seek solutions and provide public education around the issues of youth homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse and other areas youth identify as threats to themselves in Clallam County.

When: 6:30 p.m., Friday-Saturday, June 24-25

Where: Vern Burton Center, 308 E. Fourth St., Port Angeles

Cost: Free

More info: Visit www.lwvcla.org or email info@lwvcla.org.

 

A group of local youth driven to inspire positive changes will expose the underbelly of Clallam County through two creative and engaging performances.

The Clallam County League of Women Voters recently partnered with Marc Weinblatt, founder and co-director of the multi-disciplinary arts organization Mandala Center for Change in Port Townsend, to pursue a Youth Empower Project.

The project allows affected and at-risk-youth from Clallam County to participate in a weeklong workshop led by Weinblatt, who uses a variety of methods, such as “Applied Theatre” and “Popular Education” to explore serious social issues. The workshop culminates Friday and Saturday, June 24-25, with two public performances based on the participants’ combined experiences.

Beyond empowering the involved youth, the project is intended to spur social change, seek solutions and provide public education around the issues of youth homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse and other areas youth identify as threats to themselves in Clallam County, Eileen Herrling, Clallam County LWV board secretary and project chairman, explained during a past interview with the Gazette.

In creating a play together, “the needs of the youth are brought up by the youth, so it’s a bottom-up solution,” she said. “It gives youth an opportunity to have a voice and it amplifies their voice to the community.”

The performance combines both forum and legislative theater and is split into two interactive parts. First, the youth will perform the play as written. It’s then performed again, but members from the audience can freeze the performance at anytime and take the role of one of the characters to try to change the scenario by offering a different solution.

Secondly, the production transitions from forum theater to legislative theater. Youth participants and audience members are given a card and pen and asked to suggest a new law to address the issues reflected in the play. The laws are read aloud.

“Both sides are spoken to and then with a show of hands the audience votes,” Herrling said. “The exercise is empowering because it gives everybody the experience of voting.”

The LWV plans to invite local legislators and elected officials to come, listen and learn from the youth.

“The essence of this project is to have youth from Clallam County tell their combined stories to the public, invited legislators and others in position to effect social change,” Herrling said.

 

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