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Broadcasting new voices

'You could change somebody's life,' teens take on public health issues

BATS students at the WYSO studios
Beth Dixon
BATS students at the WYSO studios

Trigger warning: suicide is discussed in this story.

Teenagers want their voices heard, especially about the problems they see in their lives. In Springfield, a teen-led group called BATS, or Bringing Awareness to Students, met with officials in Clark County this fall to learn more about public health issues in their community. Then they came to the WYSO studios to make Public Service Announcements, or PSAs, about those issues that would connect to their peers.

PSA #1

Sophia Lopez-Ramirez sees underage drinking in her school and rural community. Her PSA uses three languages to reach teens: English, Spanish, and Tagalog.

Alcohol usage is so bad that we're going to tell you in three languages.

*can opening sound effect*

English [narrated by Emerson Babian]

Hey, want a beer?
Almost fifty percent of teens...
...have drunk alcohol.
Look for the signs.

Spanish [narrated by Sophia Lopez-Ramirez]

¿Oye, quieres una cerveza?
Casi cincuenta porciento de jóvenes...
...han bebido alcohol.
Busca los señales.

Tagalog [narrated by Kayrie Manaois]

“Uy, tara shot?
Halos limampung porsyento ng mga kabataan…
…nakainom na ng alak.
Maging alerto sa mga sintomas.”

Sophia Lopez Ramirez at the WYSO Studios
Beth Dixon
Sophia Lopez Ramirez at the WYSO Studios

My name is Sophia Lopez-Ramirez, and I'm 15 years old. Right now, I'm in the 10th grade and I do like it. I'm taking challenging classes. I get to have a little more autonomy over the classes I take, and I'm enjoying my English class, especially.

We have decided to do our PSA about underage drinking. I have come to know a lot of people who drink underage and you can't always see it in the way they act at school. If they're tired, you're like, 'Oh, you didn't get enough sleep last night.' Then you realize it could be for another reason.

Parents keep it around the house, especially out in the country. Where I go to school, it's not as big of a deal If your child is partaking in that stuff, because you're like, 'Oh, they're young, it's a phase, they'll get over it.' But, you know, many people don't get over it. And it doesn't necessarily mean they're a bad kid, but it's like, wow, this person needs help and I had no idea.

PSA #2

Mylo Frazier recalls a time in sixth grade when he went through some mental health challenges, so he wanted to make his PSA for the suicide prevention hotline as a rap.

[Performed by Addie Powell and Mylo Frazier]

PSAs can sound boring, but suicide prevention is not worth ignoring.

If you don't know the signs, you can't look away because you never know if it's your friend's last day.

If you're having intentions of hurting yourself, that's something that's truly concerning your health.

If you think that's how you're going to end it, then take that frown and upside down bend it.

With 988 the professionals can do that with a friendly, supportive, everyday chat.

[mic drops]

Visit 988lifeline.org for more information.

Milo Frazier and Addie Powell at the WYSO studio.
Beth Dixon
Milo Frazier and Addie Powell at the WYSO studio.

My name is Mylo Frazier. I am 12 years old. I go to Ridgewood Elementary in Springfield, Ohio. It goes from preschool to eighth and I've been there my whole life. I do a lot of things in Springfield. I am in the arts program and I play sports for Springfield City.

I think I am most interested in the 988 warm-line topic. Last year, in the sixth grade, I was going through a rough time in my life and I was having bad thoughts and intentions about, you know, hurting myself and maybe even committing suicide. So I needed somebody to talk to or somebody to call so I could explain my feelings and maybe get some help.

I didn't even know there was a prevention hotline until somebody told me. Everybody deserves a chance at life, and ending your life would take an opportunity away from you to meet someone or for somebody to meet you. And you could change somebody's life. You never know.

Special thanks to Beth Dixon and Wellspring.This story was produced at the Eichelberger Center for Community Voices. The music you heard in this episode comes from the Yellow Springs mult-instrumental collective (Nine Three Seven) off their album Monday.

David Seitz learned his basic audio writing skills in the third Community Voices class. Since then he has produced many stories on music, theater, dance, and visual art for Cultural Couch. He is deeply grateful that most of my stories bring out social justice issues in a variety of art forms, whether it be trans gender singing, the musical story of activist Bayard Rustin, or men performing Hamilton in prison.
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