April 11, 2009 — Hundreds of students in Central High School gymnasium showed their appreciation Saturday with cheers and applause for the Stop the Bleeding Foundation's new video message aimed at parents.
The message was the second in a series of public service announcements focused on improving the quality of life for Virgin Islands families. Its voice was the voice of the child actors and actresses from John H. Woodson Junior High School.
Cheryl Francis, wife of Lt. Gov. Gregory R. Francis and founder of the organization, sat in the stands before the unveiling of the video and said the message was to get the attention of parents who might not know what their child is going through.
In the video, one child asks her mother why she has never attended a parent-teacher conference; another child who is being harassed by other students questions why her parents don't know about this and are not protecting her; in the third segment a youth tells his father why he doesn't need school, but with the sounds of gunshots in the background, he says he needs his father.
Francis said the Ronald Charles Gymnasium was the best venue possible.
"The youngsters and their parents will see it together," Francis added. "This is just the beginning. We want to start a movement. It is going to be an ongoing education project.
The first video message that was released about a year ago featured family members of victims of violence. Francis said feedback on that video from local residents led to this video.
The video will begin airing next week with Spanish subtitles on local television stations and will also be heard on local radio stations.
It was shot on location at the Woodson School and at several abandoned buildings at the Ralph DeChabert Housing community. It was produced by SitaRam Filmworks in cooperation with Stop the Bleedings Parent Involvement Drive Committee, one of the entities in the coalition of non-profit agencies and community members working with Francis to protect, educate, and expose Virgin Islands youth to happier homes and brighter futures.
Francis said in a statement announcing the video, "We want parents to take the time to have sit-down conversations with their children. More so now than ever before, young people are crying out for guidance. It is important that we understand what is bothering them, and what affects their daily lives. We are losing far too many of our young men and women to shootings and other crimes which negatively affect the entire family. We must take back our lives and make our communities safe again."
Francis noted that the Stop the Bleeding campaign also included community outreach. She said that a special effort started in January to bring the people and organizations of Williams Delight together to take a stand against violence. She said outreach would take on "one community at a time."
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