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Broadcasting new voices

'Use your voice,' Clark County teens take on local public health issues

BATS students in the WYSO studios
Beth Dixon
BATS students in the WYSO studios

Trigger warning: sexual assault 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

Freddy Powell chose to make a PSA about vaping, a problem he sees among young kids and in his own family.

*crackling noises*

Do you know the health risks of vaping and what's in it?

Vaping exposes the lungs to toxic metals like nickel, lead, and chromium.

Vapes can contain the chemical alkane, which can cause irreversible lung damage.

It also contains the highly addictive drug nicotine, which increases your blood pressure and your likelihood of having a heart attack.

Nicotine can make you feel anxious and depressed too.

Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669) or go to https://teen.smokefree.gov/quit-vaping.

Freddy Powell recording at the WYSO studios
Beth Dixon
Freddy Powell recording at the WYSO studios

My name is Freddie Powell, and I am 12 years old. I'm in seventh grade.

Some things I like about my school are the experiments where you have to transport water from one place to another and get something to spin by just using water.

I'm trying to put out awareness about vaping to help kids from getting lung cancer.

My dad vapes and I can hear him cough a lot, and he tries to hide it, you can see him try to cover it up, but it's obvious. You can see the packages in his car and the trash can because he doesn't want us to do it.

PSA #2

Taylor Compston believes more teens deserve a voice to speak up about sexual abuse. Her PSA on sexual assault gives teens their voice.

[Narrated by Kara Collier, Mary Cunningham, and Taylor Compston]

*Phone ringing*

Mary: Hey, girl. What's up? Hello? Taylor? Taylor? Taylor, how was the party last night?

Taylor: [Sobbing] He touched me again.

Kara: 60% of sexual assault goes unreported. Pick up the phone. Call 1-800-656-4673.

Taylor: My voice will not be silenced

Kara, Mary, and Taylor: Use your voice

Taylor Compston in the WYSO Studio
Beth Dixon
Taylor Compston in the WYSO Studio

My name is Taylor Compston, and I'm 15 years old.

My school is a public school, and it's fairly big. I get pretty good grades. I'm taking all honors classes this year, so they are challenging me, but to a good extent.

I like helping out with different clubs like GSA, which is the Gay-Straight Alliance, and the German club.

I like activities that help include people who might feel excluded.

I don't think healthy relationships among teens are spoken about enough. A lot of teens don't feel like they have a voice to speak up about, maybe sexual abuse or verbal abuse.

My school sometimes does assemblies, and they put a story out there about a girl who was being harassed by a boy online, but because at school, they never really saw it happen. They didn't believe her.

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 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. Some of these stories have won awards from the Public Media Journalists Association and the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors. He is deeply grateful that most of his stories address 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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