Monday, April 30, 2012

Safe Schools Alliance Youth Committee Shares Message of Hope with “40-Year-Old” Self

The Illinois Safe Schools Alliance’s Youth Committee has created a short video called “Dear 40-Year-Old Me” in which the young students share their feelings about high school, coming out to their parents, and the future. “Dear 40-year-old me,” the students begin. “Do you remember high school? ...You went to a school that wasn’t used to people like you, wasn’t used to change, wasn’t used to people being different....high school was rough.”

“As the young people in this video share personal, raw anecdotes about their lives, a universal theme emerges: change is both possible and empowering,” says David Fisher of the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance. And these students have witnessed real change, first hand.

In 2010, the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance’s Youth Committee was involved in the passing of the Prevent School Violence Act. “You got to meet with the CEO of the Chicago Public Schools,” one young man reminded his 40-year-old self. “You helped create a toolkit that would inspire youth to change anti-bullying policies at their schools,” another student proudly expressed. As one girl smiled, she told her future self, “I bet you had something to do with that.”

The Youth Alliance’s emotional and honest video is one of hope, inspiration, and motivation for all youth who are struggling with their middle and high school years and want to get involved in making schools better for LGBT students. Not only does “it get better” in the future, it can get better today.