What is the Think About It Project?
A bunch of young people share their stories. It is a Multimedia project. The eight attitudes associated with the Riddle scale of homophobia are drawn upon as the young people voices emerge, sharing their real life experiences (of loss & love, abuse and praise, hatred and hope, isolation and equality, vulnerability and strength), in the hope that the broader community will experience these short films, and then think about it.
How was the project born? The community sadly had quite a few youth suicides in the Shepparton region and soon after held a Teenage Depression Information Session one evening and I went along to listen and learn more. There were many different presenters. One of them was Damien Stevens, Uniting Care Cutting Edge Youth worker and community educator for Diversity Project. Damien showed a short film called ‘Stand up’ . It was about bullying of a young gay person. It hit me hard. Damien went on to talk about the very high percentage of youth suicide being due to homophobic bullying. It never left my mind and I wanted to do something to help. The most important things in life to me is to be respected and to heard and to be treated as an equal. I thought about it for a few months. I wanted to do something to give the young people of our region a voice, to not only help them personally, but to inspire and help others too. I went to Damien with an idea then presented it to the young peoples’ diversity group, they all agreed it was a good idea and most wanted to be part of it.The Think About It Project was born.Alongside Uniting Care Cutting Edge Diversity project I worked to bring their stories together.
I have had many friends over the years in same sex relationships and they are very dear to me but I must say through research and working so closely with the young people to help them tell their stories I learnt so very much more. I was both saddened, inspired and motivated and definitely made to think about it, after hearing their amazingly raw, open and very brave stories. I was blown away just how close we became in such a very short time, people I had never met before sharing with me their life stories as I recorded them and then photographed them over a period of time. We laughed, we cried, we shared and I helped to share their stories – to be a vehicle to the rest of the world. I was so very enriched but what I learnt and many others have been too.
A launch was held at La Trobe University, Shepparton as part of the SheppARTon festival. Initially I thought we may have about 40 people come, but we moved to the bigger room as the number of RSVPs coming in grew bigger and bigger. In the end it was standing room only. Most of the young people that participated attended and we were all blown away at the huge attendance and massive support. Have a read of this news article about the launch.
After the launch the stories were shown in the foyer of La Trobe on LCD screens for the rest of the festival. Many people watched and listened.
Since the launch the stories have been shown and shared as an educational resource and we have received invitations to share them publicly at other community events here and around the state.
I encourage you to join the Think About It Project facebook page to see all the latest updates.
And please be sure to visit the Think About It Project website www.thinkaboutitproject.org.au to watch the collection of stories. They are amazing, honest, raw and inspiring and they will make you Think About It !
For further information on the Think About It Project or the young persons group Uniting Care Cutting Edge Diversity project contact Damien Stevens, youth worker on 0437134625 .
These images and words below give you a little preview of their stories. But please visit the website to watch and listen to their stories. Go to www.thinkaboutitproject.org.au
Turn up your speakers & Be sure to visit the Think About It Project Website to watch all these stories at www.thinkaboutitproject.org.au
The Think About It Project is now available on DVD .
Buy your copy now on paypal or from youth worker Damien Stevens 03 58220843