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Teens trying to make a difference

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, @CatherineH_WFMZ, chawley@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 03 2012 05:29:49 PM CDT
Updated On: Nov 04 2012 04:13:06 PM CST

Teens trying to make a difference in Berks

KUTZTOWN, Pa. -

Teens in Berks County are trying to make a difference.  They're taking on issues like violence and bullying and turning those struggles into a learning experience.

For eight weeks, fifty teens are taking over a classroom at Kutztown University.  It's part of a program called the Haydenfilms Institute Youth Media Initiative.

"The whole goal of this project is to give them a platform to be able to tell a compelling story that they may have a direct connection to or they may relate to," explained Director of Haydenfilms Institute Hayden Craddolph.

During the eight-hour workshops on Saturdays, the teens are building toward writing, directing and shooting 30-second public service announcements.

The teens will pull from their own stories and struggles to educate the public.

"Personally for me, bullying and depression have personally affected me so I would like to focus on that," shared Kutztown High School Junior Sarah Gow.

The PSA's will be used by ten local non-profit organizations.  Saturday the Junior League of Reading helped the group understand how they volunteer and get involved.

"In the end it helps the community," said Christi Terefenko with the Junior League.  "It helps make the community aware of all the non-profits that are working hard within the community to make it a better place."

Three weeks in, the teens have their groups, but they're still gathering information.

"After seeing people present these different organizations, like tell us information, I start to feel passionate about all the things," said Gow.

The PSA's will be judged by the public, and the top three spots will get a portion of a $10,000 scholarship.

"It's very important for them to make sure that their productions have a real clear and concise message so that it can communicate to people from all different social backgrounds, economic backgrounds," said Craddolph.

The program runs through December 15th.