I recently attended my first Adobe Youth Voices Live! event at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA). I was blown away by the films and other media produced by the Boston AYV youth. You must watch some of these films.

The issues the young people raised included peer pressure to fit in, the pain of that first heartbreak, the importance of friendship, bullying, and societal problems such as poverty, violence, and human rights. Their ability to articulate the complexity of these issues (which most adults have a hard time doing), express how their lives have been affected, and openly and honestly share personal stories was really inspiring.

One of my favorites was an animation about race acted out by Crayons called, Who do you think you are?”

As many of you have read on CauseNation before, Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) is a global initiative headed by the Adobe Foundation that teaches youth how to use cutting-edge technology to create media around social issues that are important to them. AYV Live! local events allow youth to showcase their work to friends, family and community members.

The films were awesome, but my favorite part of the night was at the end when the filmmakers and audience had a chance to discuss the films and the overall program. The youth were asked what inspires them, how they produce the films, and what they learn from creating this media. One young woman expressed that being able to utilize the power of her voice through film to talk about issues relevant to teens inspires her, “Personal experiences that teens face today are problems that all people face. I feel like some people don’t really understand them and they underestimate teens. And at Adobe we’re able to show other people that we teens have something to say and that it’s important.”

Another filmmaker talked about the importance of teamwork as part of the creative process and gave the audience some advice, “Try to compromise. Don’t bargain, compromise. There’s always a way to blend everything together. Work as a team.” There were many other memorable quotes, but these two captured the essence of the program: AYV gives teens a platform to have their voices heard and provide solutions to major issues but also teaches them essential skills, such as how to listen and learn from each other.

In short, the kids are alright. More power to them.


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