It all started with a simple hashtag: #mychoicemyfuture.
It’s part of Nome Eskimo Community’s new social media campaign, made possible by a grant from the Department of Justice.
“We’re going down to their terms and speaking their language,” said NEC youth services specialist Niaomi Brunette. “Kids use social media every day, and it’s a tool that can reach a wide audience.”
Burnette challenged 11th graders at Nome-Beltz Jr/Sr High School to write their own public service announcements about their future and how they plan to make their dreams come true.
“My future is in my hands,” said student Anna Marie Motis, who read aloud to her classmates. “I have the potential to become whoever I want to be. I will take the initiative and chase my dreams wholeheartedly.”
Burnette says the goal of the program is to keep kids off drugs and alcohol so they can live a productive life based on positive choices.
“Drugs and alcohol affect everyone around us,” read James Horner from his PSA statement. “I want to live my life without distractions like alcohol and drugs. During my life, I want to be a good role model for people around me so, hopefully, I can change their life for the good.”
The NEC also put out a PSA featuring local basketball star and Nome-Beltz graduate, Tyler Eide, who’s attending Walla Walla Community College on a basketball scholarship.
“I won’t let alcohol get in the way of my dreams,” said Eide in his 45-second spot. “I’ve seen what it can do to people’s lives.”
Students say the campaign makes it easy for them to get involved.
“People post pictures every day with hashtags,” Motis said. “It’s not something that’s difficult. It’s something that’s easy for kids to express themselves with.”
The organization hopes this campaign is not just a way for kids to connect with each other but also a way for them to really think about what they want in their lives.
Burnette says she hopes to see hundreds of posts across the social media sites.
“We can showcase to our community, to our region and to our state that these kids are making the right choices and they do care about their future,” she said.