Name: Beth Wray
Organisation: Gilda's Club South Jersey
My idea is to use social media to help teens who have been touched by cancer through music. Music is, and can be used as a powerful therapeutic tool to help teens, (as well as adults), who have been touched by cancer to deal with very difficult emotions that arise at any given time.
I entered this competition because I work with teens and their families who have been touched by cancer. Recently, I asked my teens to bring in a song that is meaningful to them that is related to their cancer experience, or it can be a song that got them through a rough time in their life. Or it could even be a song that is happy or gives them hope. I asked my teens to be able to talk about why the song is meaningful to them. Then I am taking all the songs with lyrics, with a brief description from the teen, (a sentence or 2), about ""why"" the song is meaningful to them. I am then making a Teen Song Book 2012 for my teens, so that they all have a piece of each others journey to take home with them. They will be introduced to songs that they may not have heard. And they will feel connected to their peers who understand what they are going through. Teens grieve in various and numerous ways. Some teens try to hide their feelings, some teens act as if nothing happened, but inside they are dying, and some may become vulnerable to serious mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
So my idea was to incorporate social media and music. Music is a common ground for teens. Pandora use to be the major music referral system. However, Spotify has teamed up with Facebook. A Facebook page could be created (for example, instead of MTV, it could be CCTV-Cure Cancer TV), for teens who have been touched by cancer. Teens could join this FB page. Spotify allows teens to make lists and files. For example, one file may be titled ""Anxious, Preparing for Surgery."" And under that list teens would be able to post a song that is meaningful to them when they are preparing for their surgery. The goal would be that when a teen clicks under ""Anxious, Preparing for Surgery,"" that that teen could find a whole host of songs, followed by a comment from the person, about how that song helped them to get through. The great thing about Spotify is that teens can make music lists that friends can create lists and share songs back and forth with one another. There are also several websites for sharing spotify playlists and songs, where users can share, rate, and discuss songs. Also, if a teen is on FB and they look to the left of the FB page they ca see what their friends are listening to, which is another great way to broadcast what the teen is listening too, and what they may be going through.
I think this has the potential to help teens feel less alone, especially since they may be the only teen in their school who has cancer. Or if they are bored in the hospital, this will enable teens to reach out to other teens going through a similar situation.
I think my idea deserves to win, because teens trust and relate to other teens. And I think that music can be powerful way for teens who need to be heard, to express themselves, while at the same time receive support, by the very people who know what they are going through best, i.e. other teens living with cancer."