YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Sunday was the 10th annual Friends4Friends Film Festival at the DeYor Performing Arts Center in Youngstown.
It’s presented by OK, Inc., an organization that encourages students to Stand Up and Speak Out in their schools and communities.
This year the Mahoning County Juvenile Justice Center and Boys & Girls Clubs of Youngstown partnered with the organization to make a short film.
“These are kids from Youngstown, born and raised in Youngstown putting on and talking positively about the city of Youngstown and that’s not something we see that often,” said Edna Edmonds from the Boys and Girls Club of Youngstown.
This year’s film festival showcased creations from local middle and high school youth, including a short film from the Boys and Girls Club of Youngstown. About a year ago, the Club chose the topic of Gun and Gang violence within the community.
“I’ve dealt with a person who has been harmed by somebody through gun and gang violence so you know I really understand this very well,” Aleshia Tomlin, from the Boys and Girls Club.
Students wrote the script in collaboration with the Mahoning County Juvenile Justice
center, auditioned for roles, then acted out the film in hopes to spread awareness around stopping gun and gang violence.
“Being able to forgive…Of course you are not going to be able to forget what happened but you are able to find a peace of mind,” said Paul Grier from the Mahoning County Justice Center.
“Inspire other kids not to get revenge or seek gun and gang violence,” said Tomlin.
The film also touches upon the value of speaking up if something doesn’t feel right.
“As a kid, if your friend is not listening to you it is okay to seek the advice of an adult. That’s what mentors are for; that’s what adults are for,” said Edmonds.
Students have worked extremely hard on this project, filming since spring break.
“They could have been anywhere over their spring break or over their summer break but they chose to be with us and give back to the community,” said Edmonds.