There are special moments in the program where I, as a teaching artist, feel as if I am truly making an impact and a difference in my community.
Recently, there was a moment during the 5th session of our 7 week program, Finding Your Voice, where we were working with youth to identify ways they can go from being a Bystander to an Upstander in their lives. We were using a theatre technique called Image Theatre to help us work through this. During this activity in the program, participants create a frozen image of a bullying situation that includes all three roles: the person doing the bullying, the person being bullied, and the bystander(s). I was picked by the youth to be the person being bullied. When two girls in the group were asked to be the bystanders, they said they didn’t want to be a bystander because it was too hard for them to do nothing in that situation. Instead, they wanted to be an Upstander. I was really affected by that. In that moment, I understood how much this program is doing for them, and how this work is really making them understand the value of who they are and what they can do for others. It really was a moment when I felt they understood their voice matters. They want to stand up when something is wrong or someone is being bullied. They want to be that Upstander that makes a difference, and that is just beautiful. That is what our work is truly doing for them!