Concert, show, musical, education, fun: all in one event, all in one place
Great acting, excellent messages, positive vibrations, good humour and top gig“, are just few of many comments heard from the crowded stands of the Sports Hall of Technical School in Medvedja. The unique educational performance held for more than 350 students of secondary school „Nikola Tesla“ in Medvedja, had the aim of raising awareness of youth about adverse effects of psycho-active substances. The show was created by peer educators of West-Serbian municipality of Loznica in 2011, within the Project “I have a healthy attitude”, and with this occasion was presented to Medvedja secondary school students.
Youth from Loznica visited their peers in Medvedja on 28th September 2012. They are members of CSO “Spark”, which organised this performance in collaboration with CSO “Freedom” from Medvedja, while members of youth rock band “Solo” were in charge for musical accompaniment.
The show was conceived as a collage of short sketches, which were accompanied with one music performance. After each song goes one sketch, local rock poem, then sketch again, and so on the whole hour. Youth on the stands “were all ears”, listening and following the performance with their full attention. It is not usual to see few hundreds of young people sitting in peace and quiet on the stands of the sports hall.
At fourteen I drank the first beer, and after beer and I drank everything, because then, when I was young…“, the Sports Hall echoed with verses of “Fish Soup” (famous Serbian rock band), after which a “drunken” youngster walked in the scene. The atmosphere of casual café, he sits with a friend and yells at the waitress: “Hey girl, give me one brandy over here!!!“. His friend shook his head to the waitress, trying to save him from too much alcohol, since he already had a “little bit more”. He took him out, and walked him to home, saving him of inconveniences that alcoholism may lead to.
This short sketch showed the importance of the true friendship, especially in the right moment. That’s why friends are there for us: the one helped his friend to overcome crises and took him to the wright direction. Message to youth on the stands is clear: it is possible to have good fun without alcohol, and it is necessary to acquire healthy life styles, play sports, and with own example promote healthy living.
While a song of “YU Group” was finishing, stands were singing with the band. Next sketch starts: two girls sitting in “the café” on the scene and talking about how they spent last weekend: “Yes, indeed it was great, but do you remember what we have learnt on the workshop two weeks ago, what alcohol can make of a human, and what effects it has on young people”?
After another song, conversation continues on the scene, emphasising harmful effects of alcohol and narcotics. A young man joins his two friends and speaks about his problems during addiction and how difficult it was for him to make a right choice. He sent the message to his peers: “Your NO changes everything. Don’t play with narcotics; you are safe only if you never reach out for them”
Should we list the reasons against the use of drugs and alcohol and all the benefits of a healthy, moral and decent life”, the moderators turned to their peers? "Of course not, because now you know how to look at the things in life - from causes to consequences. With the help of your peer educators you’ll be able to recognize evil, discard it and nip it in the bud, no matter who advocates and offers it. The best weapon in self-defence of drugs is KNOWLEDGE“.
Educational part of the show ended with a greeting word which, in the name of students who completed the training of peer educators, conveyed 15-year-old Dragica Vuksanovic and urged her peers to join the "live music" performance and celebrate the successful completion of the Project.
The hall was blaring with a sound of local and foreign rock music even an hour after the "official" part of the programme. The enthusiasm of young people in its full light showed that it is possible to organise a successful rock a party without alcohol and tobacco. Several hundred students hailed this stage performance with a long applause. Some have joined their peers at the podium; many were dancing in the stands; while everyone will remember this unique event long after they complete their education.
This Educational performance is just one in a series of activities that, in the framework of the project "Knowing a real choice," was organised by the Association "Freedom" from the municipality of Medvedja. The project, with a total value of $ 12,000, potentiated a modern video surveillance system with 16 cameras placed in a school and surroundings, which was put into operation at the beginning of the school year.
With the introduction of video surveillance for the first time in one school in Medvedja, project promoted the safety of students and property, while with preventive measures, the chances to trade in psychoactive substances near the school were highly reduced. Video surveillance system, in addition to the school interior, also covered the immediate surroundings, school yard and sports fields.
"More than 350 students of secondary school “Nikola Tesla” can now follow lectures without any interruptions, and also conduct extracurricular activities, sports and play in the school yard, without the fear of being attacked, or that the school property will be damaged," said the president of the Association "Freedom" from Medvedja, Zoran Radenovic. "So we came up with the idea of introducing video surveillance system, in parallel with implementing peer education on the topic of “prevention of substance abuse”, he said.
During September, a series of trainings for peer educators was organised for 10 participants, students of first, second and third year of this secondary school. They have acquired basic knowledge about the harmful effects of psychoactive substances, as well as the skills that will help them pass the knowledge to their peers.
The trainings were aimed at developing skills and knowledge of youth, promoting healthy lifestyles and prevention of substance abuse. It also improved the health of young people through education of peer educators, raising awareness of young people about health and their rights.
Through intense trainings, the peer educators had the opportunity to be trained to independently conduct workshops and try out the role of a leader, so that later with the support of their teachers, they are able to convey their knowledge and conduct workshops in their classroom, "said medical doctor Nada Djuric.
The Project "Knowing a real choice," is implemented by local association "Freedom", in partnership with the municipality of Medvedja and secondary Technical School "Nikola Tesla", and was financially supported by PBILD Program and its Safer Cities component.