DEVENS — Kayla Reeves, of Shirley and her friend Amanda, of Shrewsbury, both students at the Francis Parker Charter School in Devens, have been chosen as one of the Best Buy Challenge with Youth Venture teams eligible to win a $10,000 prize for their Team Ultmate project. Theirs is one of 30 teams chosen nationwide.
The teams winning the $10,000 prizes will be chosen through an online vote.
The following, written by Amanda, outlines the project the two girls developed, which ultimately won them this recognition:
“The venture started when we were playing Ultimate Frisbee one day and someone mentioned how fun it would be to teach Ultimate Frisbee to other people.
“Kayla and I have done a lot of work with children of all ages and we both shared an interest with inner-city youth. We decided to try and create a venture that worked toward teaching at-risk youth about the game and culture of Ultimate Frisbee.
“Sounds kind of silly, but the more and more we learned about Ultimate Frisbee, the more we realized how well it served as a catalyst to help teach youth (especially young girls) valuable life skills such as tolerance, understanding differences and learning to work and function as a team.
“We also wanted to help the girls on deeper issues such as learning more about yourself and learning strategies to help cope with day-to-day stress and anxiety. To do this we spent a lot of time journaling (or drawing).
“To our suprise, the girls loved journaling and treated it more as a ‘diary.’ Although we had prompts for the girls to write about, they liked writing about their day, how they were feeling, and how things were going for them. We found letting them reflect on their days was really effective for letting them “de-stress” and leave their emotions “at the door” so we were able to have fun and play Ultimate Frisbee.
“From the journaling, the girls learned how to express their feelings and what to do if they were feeling upset or angry or just needed a moment to themselves. …
“Most of the girls came from very rough backgrounds and we found that during the sessions the girls would get upset easily or sometimes get angry because of things happening at home or at school to them. We found that by letting them sit alone and journal, it was a really great way to let them calm themselves down until they were ready to join the group.
“Although the girls learned a lot from Team Ultimate, I also learned more than I could ever have imagined. I learned more from working with these girls than any teacher could have taught me. I learned the importance of having a role model and the impact it makes on a life. I learned more about being strong, what creating change meant, and the power that youth truly holds.”
Kayla and Amanda are at a distinct disadvantage in the voting since both come from small towns. Most of the 30 teams come from larger cities around the country and have many of those residents supporting them.
Area residents can show their support for the team by going to www.GenV.net/bestbuy and voting for “Team Ultimate.” You can vote each day (24 hours after the previous vote) until Jan. 9. The Web site requires you to vote for two teams so choosing another team with a low vote total will help Team Ultimate.
Residents can also text a vote for them as follows: Text BBYV27 to 32075.
Using the Internet and texting by phone, you can vote twice a day for them.
For further information contact Kayla at 978-425-4548.