Local organizations awarded $1 million for youth substance use prevention and documentary filmmaking

May 11, 2022 /

TYM4Change, ShePower Leadership Academy, and MLKcommUNITY Initiative have been awarded $1 million through Elevate Youth California for youth substance use prevention activities and to study the barriers to equity, inclusion, and access for youth and families living in Southeast Bakersfield through youth-led research and filmmaking. 

TYM4Change is in partnership with ShePower and COLDf aka MLK CommUNITY Initiative to recruit youth between 16 and 24 to survey residents and interview civic leaders, business owners, faith-based community partners, parents, youth, and other residents. Youth will produce a documentary film to celebrate the history, diversity, and resourcefulness of the community, and to raise awareness about the social, economic, and health disparities that contribute to youth substance use. As they identify potential solutions to tough problems, youth will advocate for policy change at the city and county level. Youth participating in the project will receive financial incentives for their work. 

“It’s incredibly inspiring to see the positive work that our young people are doing,” said Dr. Dixie King, Executive Director of TYM4Change. “Last year they produced a 40-minute documentary on food insecurity in Kern County that was accepted into three film festivals and will be shown later this year on Amazon Prime. We expect equally great work to come out of the KEY Project.”   

Elevate Youth California, a project of The Center at Sierra Health Foundation under contract with the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS),is funded by Proposition 64 revenue, which legalized adult non-medical use of cannabis in California. Awarded partner projects work with youth ages 12 to 26 and provide youth social justice, peer support and mentoring in low-income communities of color, including Tribal communities and LGBTQ communities.  

“Elevate Youth California prioritizes youth leadership and invests in healing and community growth,” said Chet P. Hewitt, president and CEO of Sierra Health Foundation and The Center. “Our new partners will work directly with youth to improve the environment of communities impacted by the War on Drugs, which has led to inequity in our health systems and the criminalization of youth in low-income communities and communities of color. California’s youth are talented, capable and ready for this investment.” 

Youth interested in participating and groups interested in partnering can visit the TYM4Change website: https://tym4change.org/