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New West teens raise voices for change

Local youth take part in video-making workshop for United Way's Care to Change competition

For Jennifer Young, the whole point of the Care to Change video contest was summed up perfectly by one teenage participant.

"I like that you're getting kids involved because it's our era, not the adults, right?" said 14-year-old Lauren Hill of New Westminster. "We should be the ones that are making the change."

Young, spokesperson for the United Way of the Lower Mainland, says that philosophy captures the spirit of the United Way's third annual video competition.

The competition is open to youth and adults from around B.C., and competitors are invited to create short films that will educate people about the United Way's causes: child poverty, bullying and seniors' isolation.

"It's really about giving youth and adult a chance to speak up, to give them a voice," Young said. "It's really a video competition with a difference."

She said the two previous years have shown that the majority of videos come from youth, usually in the 14- to 19-year age range.

Generally, she said, they all capture the youth message that "It's our time to act."

This past weekend - Oct. 18 to 20 - students from New Westminster had a chance to take part in free Care to Change video-making workshops at Lord Kelvin Community School.

The workshops began Friday with brainstorming sessions about the issues and worked their way through Saturday and Sunday, covering storyboarding, writing, shooting and editing the students' work.

The workshops, supported by Telus, are run by ReelYouth, a not-for-profit organization that offers programs for youth, adults and groups to help them create and distribute films about social issues.

ReelYouth is working with the United Way to offer video-making workshops in conjunction with the Care to Change contest. Another one is coming up Nov. 13 at Byrne Creek Secondary in Burnaby, focusing on claymation.

But people interested in the Care to Change competition don't have to attend a workshop: they can make and submit their own video by following the rules at

The contest closes Dec. 3.