Can one-minute videos really change the world? Year 10 student at St Clare’s Catholic High School in Taree, Yolanta Guthridge and Makayla Harris, believe so. They created some striking productions for the Videos for Change competition that also feature their classmates Cooper Twemlow, Ryan Stewart, Medinah Wells and Cassidy Donovan.
Yolanta’s motivation was youth mental health.
“Even in this day and age, when mental illnesses are so often a topic of conversation, for most people, there is still a lack of awareness,” Yolanta says. “You only have to look as far as our school grounds, where people jokingly ask, ‘are you OK?’, without pausing to consider that the answer may actually be no, and if so, what they can do about that.
“Many people think they will know what to do when they are in that situation, unaware that there is a possibility that they already are, and by failing to take the first step and start a conversation, they are proving that they don’t know what to do.”
Neither Yolanta nor Makayla study videography at St Clare’s but they set out making the videos with the aim of challenging people to realise that perhaps they are not as informed as they think.
“Every day, we hear stories of young people who have gone above and beyond, inspiring others and changing the world,” Yolanta says. “Everyone is constantly saying to us ‘it’s your generation that are going to create tomorrow’s world’.
“As a young person, it can feel different to make a change. When so few people listen to us, it makes us feel powerless. An opportunity like Videos for Change allows us to raise our voices and make a real difference to the world of which we are one day going to be the caretakers.”
St Clare’s teacher Todd Curtis is encouraging people to vote once they watch the video.
“You can vote as many times as you like,” Mr Curtis says. “This was the only entry from St Clare’s. It is not something they were required to do for school, it’s just something they wanted to do to make a difference.
“They are a really great group of students, but Makayla and Yolanta were the driving force towards the creation of the video.”
Videos for Change is a platform for young people to develop confidence, practise social advocacy and build valuable 21st-century skills. They do this through the sharing of one-minute videos. Nominations closed on 21 September and voting closes on 2 November.