Youths To Voice Concerns Through Song And Dance

For 5, A Limo Ride From Projects To Stardom

May 29, 1991|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,Staff writer

Five middle school students will play pop stars Friday night, ridingin style from their homes in public housing projects to perform at Meade High School.

The county Office of Drug and Alcohol Programs plans to pick the five girls up in a limousine and chauffeur them to the high school for "We Need You 1991" -- a 2 1/2-hour program of song, skits and dance centered on youth concerns.

More than 70 schoolchildren will perform anti-drug rap songs and dances between debating the hot topics of the '90s, including AIDS and teen suicide.

The anti-drug program at Meade was patterned afterthe first "We Need You" event in December. More than 450 students, parents and community leaders attended the Dec. 1 show, surpassing theorganizers' expectations.

"With community programs like we do, you're lucky if you get 20 or 50 people," said Darius Stanton, youth coordinator for the Office of Drug and Alcohol Programs and the main organizer. "If we get another crowd like that at Meade, it will be amazing."

Once again, Stanton invited people from as many walks of life as possible to "avoid preaching to the choir." He has arranged for buses to pick up children and parents from Meade Village, Freetown, Robinwood, Bayridge Gardens, Bywater and other public housing projects.

Stanton invited the youth choir from Broadneck United Methodist Church to kick off the free program, which starts at 7 p.m. Highlights of the show include: jazz music performed by a band; dances betweensegments by the five middle-school girls; a 10-minute skit by Shabazz Productions, a community performance troupe at Meade Village; and asong played by a fourth-grade violinist.

"We looked for a means of giving young people an opportunity to speak out for themselves and also do it in an entertaining fashion," said Stanton, who hopes to continue to "showcase talented young people" in a series of "We Need You" events.

He's already looking for another site in the North County area. Stanton hopes the "infotainment" style of mixing fun with a message will reach children at risk of using drugs and alcohol.

"Ithink it probably works better than just having adults talk down to kids," he says. "This way, we have the kids talking and listening."

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