Duluth Youth Express Views on Violence Through Acting

By KBJR News 1

January 16, 2013 Updated Jan 22, 2013 at 11:21 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - A play about the role violence plays in young people's lives comes at a time when gun violence is a huge issue.

For these teens, this is more than just a play.

Its an expression of their feelings and experiences, even if it took a little encouragement to open up.

"At first I wasn't taking it seriously, I was just writing random stuff down and after I started to see it come into a play I stated to take it seriously and write with a little more emotion and more confidence with it, so yeah I'm pretty part of it now," said Josh, a resident at Woodland Hills.

Youth at Woodland Hills in Duluth wrote and performed the play "Gr8ful for Another Day."

They took stories from newspaper articles, which revolved around violence, in some cases adding their own experiences.

"I think students can only write what they know what's in their consciousness so I think there is a lot of self reflection and a lot of examination of personal experiences that takes place," said Angie Frank, director of the play and Teaching Artist for Woodland.

Woodland Hills is a center for youth ages 12 to 17 who are lacking direction in their lives or need extra help.

"They are often experiencing some behavioral issues or perhaps mental health issues that prevent them from realizing their potential or succeeding to the best of their ability in their life," said Cindy Finch, agency relations director.

After being in jail, one boy tells us how he is here to make his mother proud.

"I asked her, what do you mean by a proud parent moment, and she was like... graduating from high school doing something good with your life, I'm tired of always seeing you on the street or in jail and doing this, and I went in my room an thought about it, I really just wanted to make my mom proud," said Malik.

Having found some direction in their lives, these boys are on the right track to achieving their goals.

If you missed the performance of "Gr8ful for Another Day" tonight, there will be an additional showing at 7 pm at Teatro Zuccone on Thursday.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.