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Wednesday, January 16 , 2019, 5:18 pm | Rain Fog/Mist 60º


Teens, Musician Team Up on ‘I’m Your Ally’ Video

AHA! participants offer support to bullied gay, lesbian and transgender peers

In response to the spate of tragic suicides among gay and lesbian teens this year, teens in a Santa Barbara after-school program teamed with professional musician Tina Schlieske of Tina & the B-Sides to film a YouTube video offering support.

The video features Schlieske’s song “Everyday (It’s Going to Be a Little Better)” and includes personal messages from the teens: “I’m your ally, and I want you to know that love is all that matters.”

The teens are participants in AHA! (Academy of Healing Arts) and in particular its Ally Training Program, which emphasizes the importance of all teens working together — in the community and for the community.

The Allies focus on stopping hatred, building character based on authentic values, supporting each other’s strengths, team-building and community service. Horrified by the highly public targeting of gay and lesbian teens that resulted in a rash of teen suicides earlier this year, Schlieske, an AHA! Advisory Board member, offered the use of her song “Everyday,” to which teens added their own messages of support to GLBT teens.

The video was posted to YouTube, where it has inspired more than 1,000 viewers.

Founded in 1999, the year of the Columbine High School shootings, by therapists Jennifer Freed, Ph.D., and Rendy Freedman, MFT, AHA! is dedicated to the development of character, imagination, emotional intelligence and social conscience in teenagers. AHA! now delivers its lively social and emotional intelligence curriculum to more than 800 teens annually through in-school, after-school and summer programs.

Although AHA! has operated as a project of the Family Therapy Institute of Santa Barbara for 11 years, it will transition to an independent nonprofit effective Jan. 1, although it will continue to share space and office staff with the Family Therapy Institute.

Click here for more information.

— Leslee Goodman represents the Academy of Healing Arts.

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