Villa Grove High School students, winners of the “Your Actions Matter” state-wide video contest sponsored by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission, were recently honored by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn with a proclamation. VGHS health teacher, Noreen Acton, and her students worked with Body Electric staff members from Sarah Bush Lincoln who provided equipment and technical assistance. The winning video encourages adults to prevent underage drinking and will be televised soon.
I Sing the Body Electric!
2014 SAMHSA Town Hall Meeting
|I Sing the Body Electric! |
Body Electric believes that young people want to be respected for their abilities and ideas. Body Electric sees each person as an actor, artist, musician, or writer; all with the ability to create messages that encourage healthy living.
Since 1998, Body Electric has provided data and support to communities to combat teen health risk behaviors. With a solid foundation in tested prevention strategies, the main goal is to develop and promote messages through student art work that will lead to healthy lifestyle choices. Youth are equipped with knowledge, skills, materials, and assistance to creatively express their health concerns for each other and for their communities. They are articulate, thoughtful, and altruistic in researching topics and choosing a wide variety of arts media to communicate their prevention messages. Projects have captured the attention, imagination, and appreciation of many viewers.
As a part of the Healthy Communities Department at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center, Body Electric is instrumental in achieving the Center’s mission and vision of creating healthy communities. Body Electric also has an Advisory Council with members representing parents, community service agencies, educational institutes, faith based organizations, and business and industry in Clark, Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Moultrie, and Shelby Counties.
Body Electric is designed as a three-stage plan:
Phase One: Collecting Local Health Data
Implemented in 2012, the Illinois Youth Survey (IYS) is conducted biennially to establish the most prevalent teen health concerns. Prior to 2012, we used the Body Electric Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Since 1998, some of the top issues identified through the survey include alcohol, body image, and drugs (substance abuse). The students use the data from the IYS as a springboard for project ideas that promote healthy lifestyle choices.
Phase Two: Giving Youth a Voice
Teens are assisted by Body Electric staff and college or community mentors as they choose a health issue and research the best method to convey a prevention message. Funds are awarded for the purchase of materials to produce an art project which may include music and video production, two and three dimensional art, and creative writing.
Phase Three: Communicating to the Community
An art tour is delivered to students and the community focusing on the healthy messages of the teen projects. Posters featuring the art are exhibited in numerous businesses through the “Changing Arts, Changing Hearts” program.
What do others have to say about I Sing The Body Electric?
STUDENT: “It is a really good program where you can gain knowledge about the world around you. I mean, kids look at health class and say, "Oh, we know about drugs. We know about teen sexuality and we know what alcohol does to you." But when you're actually doing a project, you're forced to learn more about the subject and it's good to gain knowledge on that.”
TEACHER: This terrific program is a reflection of the gifted, innovative and personally invested people who administer Body Electric. Even in times of deadlines, multiple problem shooting issues and other crises, the Body Electric administrators are positive, supportive sources of assistance and encouragement. TOP FLIGHT! - Steve Allen, retired - Kansas TLC (learning and treatment center)
UNIVERSITY DEAN: The program has brought together a unique coalition of organizations, agencies and individuals committed to the betterment of teen and community health. Its success is widely recognized and strongly supported by students, teachers, and community leaders. As the [former] Dean of the College of Arts and humanities, I have seen the positive impact the program has had upon changing the behavior patterns of students at risk and the unique educational opportunities it has provided our undergraduate and graduate students. It is a model of success of how the Fine Arts can be used to shape and change the attitudes and lifestyle of today’s teenagers toward the use of alcohol consumption, drunk driving, drug use and sexual activity. I Sing the Body Electric is one of the nation’s most outstanding community based Fine Arts programs. - James Johnson, [former] Dean of College of Arts and Humanities, Eastern Illinois University.
Art Tour Opportunities
From the first biennial tour in the spring of 1999, more that 10,000 people each year have experienced the positive health messages presented through the Body Electric teen art work. Tour settings include schools, local community and business facilities, fairs, and factories. Contact the Body Electric staff to schedule an art tour in your facility.
I Sing the Body Electric • 105 Professional Plaza • Mattoon, IL 61938 • (217) 348-4570