Kurri Kurri High School students took time out on Thursday to have some fun while focusing on a serious issue.
Youth-led domestic violence awareness project Drop the Beat held a silent disco, in which participants wore headphones and could listen to different channels of music.
The silent disco’s aim was to highlight White Ribbon’s “Breaking the Silence” campaign.
Drop the Beat enlisted about 30 students to survey their peers using ‘Map Your World’ GPS technology to record them taking the White Ribbon oath (swearing never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women and children).
It will hold events at Cessnock High and Mount View High on Friday, with the aim of recording more than 1000 pledges by the end of the week.
Cessnock youth development officer Lakin Agnew said the project is giving the city’s young people the chance to “be the generation that starts the change”.
“If these guys don’t call it (domestic violence) out and change, it’s probably never going to change,” Ms Agnew said.
White Ribbon ambassador Craig Williamson opened the Kurri Kurri event.
Through his work with Samaritans, Mr Williamson has seen how domestic violence affects people and how significant it is that the community works towards to changing statistics.
The event was aligned with the Kurri Kurri Learning Community’s Positive Behaviour for Learning Project, which promotes core behaviours of “being responsible, acting safely, showing respect and being an active citizen”.
Drop the Beat came to fruition after the Cessnock Community and Youth Development Project received a $50,000 Youth Opportunities grant to roll out a youth-led project to raise awareness about the high rates of domestic and family violence in the area.
Other activities it has hosted include community music-based events (Youth Week and NAIDOC Week), songwriting workshops and recording a CD of music created by young people.
The project will run until the end of the year, but Ms Agnew said the young people involved may continue to use Map Your World to raise awareness of other social issues.
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