||I Sing the Body Electric! |
The I Sing the Body Electric Coalition 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 in collaboration with coalition 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 (Illinois Regional Office of Education # 11).
Body Electric is designed as a three-stage plan:
One: Collecting Local Health Data
Implemented in 2012, The Illinois Youth Survey (IYS) is conducted biennially to establish the most prevalent teen health concerns. Since 1998, the top three issues identified through the former Body Electric Youth Risk Behavior Survey and now current IYS instruments have been alcohol, body image, and drugs (substance abuse).
Two: Giving Youth a Voice
Teens are assisted by college and community mentors as they choose a health issue and research the best method to convey a prevention message. Mini-grants 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.
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 while "Bring it Home!" takes the art tour into the workplace.
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