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Youth create videos to help Alberta flood recovery

In an effort to help others recover after the floods, teenagers from schools in High River, Calgary, Canmore and Morley are creating short videos detailing their experiences with the disaster. The teenagers’ videos are short but say a great deal about the Alberta floods of 2013. They use simple language but express powerful emotions, which is precisely the point of the arts project funded by the Canadian Red Cross called Youth Creating Disaster Recovery (YCDR).

“We really hope more young people will be encouraged to share their experiences in this creative and powerful way. We certainly recognize that teenagers can contribute a lot to the healing and resiliency of their communities,” says Judi Frank, Red Cross Western Zone Director of Disaster Management.

It’s a joint project supported by Red Cross, Royal Roads University’s YCDR research team, and Calgary’s Antyx community arts group. Red Cross is funding phase two of the project which has already been met with great success in High River and Calgary’s Bowness community.
After evacuation: teens describe their experiences

One of the first videos produced by YCDR and students of the “Hearts and Minds” High River school group is called “After Evacuation.”  

As the video notes:  “The entire city was forced to evacuate. Seventy per cent of homes in High River were moderately to severely-damaged by the flooding and 79 of 83 town buildings experienced significant damage, driving many small businesses out of town.”

Just 59 seconds long, the video’s background pops with scrawled words like “Afraid, Powerless, Angry and Scared,” before a teenage voice calmly suggests: “Always look at the positive side in a bad situation. Even if it may not show right away, keep in mind that something good always comes out of it.”

While paper cut-out people with Red Cross clean-up kits bounce across the screen, the narrator explains that her town is growing stronger as people rebuild and work together after the disaster.

“In the end, we’ll have a brand new town. There’s always positive in a negative situation,” concludes the teen narrator.

Frank said the project recognizes that youth, who comprise almost one-quarter of the population, have much to offer and can teach us all valuable lessons about coping with disasters.  

“This YCDR initiative is important because it provides youth a voice and medium in which to share their stories,” she said.
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