Friday, March 12, 2010

A project at Al Raby

At Al Raby High School, on Chicago's West Side, Erasing the Distance and AP Psychology Students are working together to understand more about mental illness.

As part of the AP Psychology class’s service learning commitment...
ETD Executive Artistic Director, Brighid O’Shaughnessy, is spending the semester with 15 students interested in understanding more about mental illness. The students will interview people they know in the documentary, ETD style.
They'll use audio and/or video recorders, so they can capture the story-tellers accurately, word for word. Then they will sculpt those stories into a mini-production that brings these stories to life.

Here is what the students' have to say about the project so far:

"In only four sessions, I have already learned that mental illness is something that everyone is vulnerable to experiencing. I used to think that I didn't want to be around people like that. Now I realize that people with mental illness are just people."
- Trevon

"I learned that this stuff isn't just made up. It's
not something to joke about. It doesn't just affect certain kinds of people. It affects people from all walks of life." - Daphane

"I used to think that if someone was depressed that they could just get themselves that they could get themselves out of it, that being around friends was enough to lift it.
After hearing the true stories, I realize that's not true. These things take time and lots of help to overcome." - Jasmelique

"I learned a lot from the woman who shared about Seasonal Affective Disorder. I had never even HEARD of that before. I didn't realize the weather could really affect someone like that." - Brionna

"I didn't know that these disorders could lead to thoughts of suicide. That was a big surprise." - Rob

In only four sessions, the results have been powerful.
Executive Artistic Director Brighid O'Shaughnessy has been blown away by the students thoughtfulness, sensitivity, and openness, and looks forward to the next 12 sessions together.

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