The media says violence in schools is common place, but Calgary youth volunteers are using the music industry to stop fights. They’re using the cash from a self-created CD to fund student-run peace programs in their high schools.
The Calgary Youth Foundation is a group of ten young volunteer philanthropists, aged 13 to 17, who are making a difference in their city. This year, the energetic group wanted to find an original and effective way to raise money to award “peace grants” to students who want to promote peace in their schools. “Rock for Peace” was their solution.
“Rock for Peace” is a CD compilation of original songs by Calgary high school students that the Youth Foundation put together and now intends to sell. The CD’s 12 songs speak of general and personal feelings about violence.
Nicole Lewis, a vivacious 17-year-old spokesperson for the group, explained how they compiled the songs that appear on the disk.
“We put up posters advertising the contest in schools, and pretty much everyone who entered was put on the CD. We didn’t have a hundred entries or anything like that because this is our first year,” she said. “Most songs were just a person with an instrument and then we added other instruments with it, and there were a couple bands.”
The CD itself is a mixture of many genres of music. While it is predominantly filled with melodic ballads by some very talented female vocalists, there are also songs influenced by rock, alternative and hip-hop.
The Youth Foundation’s former leader had a recording studio in his basement where all the artists recorded their songs, and the artists were able to have some influence as to what their songs would sound like on the final product.
The students burnt the CDs on their own computers, and are marketing their product. Lewis and her colleagues have learned a lot about what it takes to promote a product to the public.
“We found that posters really aren’t that effective — we’ll put up a few posters in the school, but people tear them off the wall and put other stuff up over them. They just get blown off if they’re put up outside, so we’re looking at alternative methods of promotion.”
“We marketed it as a stocking stuffer for Christmas, because it’s only $10 and it’s for a good cause,” said Lewis. “Christmas and peace kind of go hand in hand. We’re also going to sell the CD at each one of our schools and then we’re going to try to book to go to as many other high schools as we can.”
For additional publicity the group wants to use spots on local radio stations to get their message to the public, citing the University of Calgary radio station, POWER 107 and CJAY 92 as possible vehicles for their campaign. They also hope to get a spot on A Channel’s morning show “The Breakfast Club”.
The group is planning on having a CD release to allow the artists to play their songs live, likely at a