Gigi Stages a Solution!
Written by: Sandy Schroeder, Director of Strategic Impact
“This is for everyone!” By “this”, Gigi means an opportunity to experience a theater club for young people. By “everyone” she means people with theater experience, people with NO expertise, and those who are curious. The “why” she is doing this is the reason she has been selected as the Youth Spotlight for this month.
Georgianna OliverSmith (Gigi) has been around the stage since she was six years old. It is what feeds her soul, the ability to artistically express herself, feel emotions, and develop her authentic self. Now, as a junior at Battle Mountain High School, she continues to participate in the productions offered by the school. But it’s just not enough.
Gigi has noticed that when the final curtain falls on any given production, the people who, like her, thrive on the adrenaline that a production creates are left with an empty spot. They need the emotional release. They need the connectedness that a “team” provides. Being together, practicing without judgement, and bonding over the creation of a product for community consumption keeps people emotionally well. Gigi is developing a solution to meet this exact need.
Gigi, with the help of Valley’s Voice, is pitching a Theater Club. Youth of any age or ability are welcome to join and be a part of the “team”. Here they will find others who seek connection, a safe place to “try on” different characters, and learn a little something about theater. The club will meet 52 weeks per year, a consistent connection for youth who need it, want it, and enjoy it.
Gigi has distinguished herself. She discovered what makes her thrive and what challenges she faces when that “something” is not present. Then, she thought of others who may have the same need and she hatched a solution. The distinguishing part: she is a youth! Youth know youth best. When adults take time and make the energy to listen, and listen carefully, adults quickly learn that youth are the experts for youth. They have the power and drive to carve their own paths to success. Gigi is not alone; so many more solutions are out there for young people who struggle.
If we think about it, the “curtain falls” on lots of things that youth do. The track season ends, the Debate Club is off for a month, Karate classes take a break. Where are our other Gigis? Where are youth who want to make a difference for youth? PROMISE: Mountain Youth is here to support you and your solution. Give us a chance to help you help each other.
Valley’s Voice is the structure that can support you the same way it is supporting Gigi’s solution. If you have a passion and are willing to share that passion with others so they feel better about life, Valley’s Voice will help you learn to lead a project that meets a community need. Learn more at valleysvoice.org or contact Cam Dole (firstname.lastname@example.org).
By Sandy Schroeder
Sandy is the Director of Community Engagement at Mountain Youth and has been involved with youth for more than 30 years. As an advocate for youth voice, she helped youth design Valley’s Voice and works with the team frequently. It is, in fact, how she met Gigi!