July 2017 marked the one year anniversary of Let’s Be Real, a movement by young people for young people about relationships. To share our learnings from a year of movement-making and celebrate the accomplishments of the youth who drive it, Break the Cycle staff members reflects on their experiences working with Let’s Be Real in a 4 part blog series. Jasmine Uribe, Break the Cycle’s Leadership & Engagement Manager, continues the series by speaking to the effectiveness of resources driven and designed by young people.
What’s the point in creating resource materials that are not effective? The obvious answer is that there is no point. However many of us still fall into an adult-led, content generation machine. Unfortunately, when we create content that is not true to the realities of youth, it's just not effective. What did Break the Cycle do to challenge our own content creation process? We involved Let’s Be Real!
Instead of sitting and thinking about what would work best for young people, we invited them to create the content in the form that works best for their peers. We’ve been seeking out youth-centered information for a while, but now that we have a designated cohort working with us and showing us the path towards success, our resources have taken on a unique dynamic that can only be attributed to the voices of Let’s Be Real. It’s not just a sounding board or group of young people that we run a few ideas by, it’s the core voice behind our presentations, educational content, social media campaigns and more!
Through Let’s Be Real, we are taking steps towards creating authentic spaces where every person has a place and can share their honest, unfiltered thoughts and reactions of what works and what doesn’t. This is a HUGE game changer for the field! For far too long we’ve sought out feedback from youth after the creation of content, which wasn’t always successful. We need to remember that as adults in the field we need to be flexible and willing to make the changes that young people say they need - after all this is their movement and we are here to amplify their voices and efforts!
I am truly amazed by the spirit this new formation of teens and young adults carries across the country in the field of violence prevention. As a keen observer of youth development over the years, I am happy to see that - finally - we’re showing our trust and confidence in the expertise of young people. Let’s Be Real, is so much more than a label, project, or group, it’s a way of life - a challenge to all involved to recognize and respond to the needs of our communities, with honesty, integrity, and pride.
Check out these awesome resources designed or inspired by Let's Be Real members:
- Taco Bout It Tuesday - a weekly relationship Q & A Spachat show
- Healthy Relationship Videos - animated videos bringing relationship education to life
- Handouts on Healthy Break Ups, Freedom and Space, and LGBTQ* Allyship
Want to be part of the Let's Be Real movement? Join us!
Stay tuned for Part 3 of the blog series on Programming in LBR.