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Local Youth Use Mixed-Media to Capture COVID-19 Perspectives

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July 7, 2020

COVID-19 has asked a lot of our youth– online school, separation from friends, cancellation of extra curriculars, and missed milestones like prom. However, a few high school students decided to meet their challenges head-on through a mixed-media project. 

This virtual project, hosted by High Five Access Media and YouthPower365, provided a platform for local youth to tell their stories of the health and economic crisis. To capture their point of view, students were encouraged to choose multiple art forms from photography to creative writing. 

"We are proud of the students' work. What they've created is vulnerable, brave, and offers insight into youth perspectives on their experiences with Covid-19," said J.K. Perry, executive director at High Five Access Media. 

Students also received expert technical assistance, mentoring, and peer critique throughout the six-week process. Two student pieces are now online for the community to engage in: 

A video, photography, and poetic narration by Olivia Lopez, incoming sophomore at Battle Mountain High School, can be viewed at https://www.highfivemedia.org/olivia-lopez-de-leon

A poetry collection with art and audio by Finn Mott, recent Eagle Valley High School graduate, can be experienced at  https://www.highfivemedia.org/finn-mott.

The benefits of the project were wide-reaching, affecting students personally.

“My favorite part of this project was meeting new people, opening a new door to my future, and trying something new. As well, I was able to get honest feedback and help when connecting with my instructors and teammates,” said Lopez.

“This project helped me undergo a personal transformation and realization about being a poet and working with others,” added Mott.

Each of the students have a message for our community that they hope resonates through the creative work.

“I want others to know about my work, because I want people to know that even in a time of doubt or uncertainty there is a way to do what you love or what you want to do. If there is a will there is always a way to achieve and grow and overcome,” said Lopez.

“I would like others to know that my work came directly from my heart and that I hope it can inspire a little flicker of light in them and their community,” said Mott. 

In addition to community-wide exposure, students received a prize for publication of their pieces. They will be able to purchase equipment or software that helps them continue to tell their story in the future. 

“The hard work, creativity, and dedication of these students was incredible,” said Sara Amberg, Capacity, Sustainability, and Grants Director for YouthPower365. “It is a reminder that our youth have voices that need to be heard, today and tomorrow.”

A nonprofit, youth-serving organization, YouthPower365 provides year-round extended learning that inspires, educates, and empowers the youth and families of Eagle County from cradle to career-readiness. We have a vision to allow Eagle County’s youth access to early childhood, K-12, and career & college programs that aspire to create success for every child, every day. For more information on the impact and programs of YouthPower365, please visit www.youthpower365.org 

High Five Access Media is a nonprofit, noncommercial, grassroots community access media center that is available on Comcast Channel 5 and anywhere, online. HFAM provides coverage of local government meetings and offers free media education workshops each month to valley residents and nonprofits so they can learn about video production, check out video equipment for free, and express their ideas and advocate for a cause on cable television and the web. To learn more about the opportunities to get involved, visit highfivemedia.org.