CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Westwood College recently worked with members of the Chicago-area non-profit, Crushers Club, to conceptualize and produce a music video aimed at raising awareness and funds for the organization. Crushers Club works to provide the city’s youth with athletic, artistic and work-related activities as an alternative to gangs. Westwood College was introduced to Crushers Club through its partner organization, A Better Chicago.
In 2011, after a violent episode in the Englewood neighborhood, one of the Crushers Club members wrote a song to dispel the myth that the neighborhood’s youth want to participate in violence. The song led to the eventual creation of a music studio as part of the club, and the final version, titled “I Wanna Live,” was completed with the help of several Crushers Club members and Westwood College faculty. The music studio now offers all members an opportunity to experiment with and participate in music as a means of expressing creative freedom.
“We were hopeful to find someone to take the song and produce a video for us as a way to raise awareness and funds for our programs,” said Sally Hazelgrove, founder and executive director of Crushers Club. “What happened was even better. Westwood College brought these boys in and taught them about video production, helped them develop important technical skills, and infused them with excitement about their possibilities in the field. The end result was something they were really proud of, which goes such a long way toward instilling confidence and a sense of leadership in these boys.”
Video production instructors, led by Kristin Callahan, design program chair at Westwood College’s DuPage campus, met with members at Crushers Club to teach them about film language, production and concept development, as well as methods for shooting footage. Westwood then loaned the students cameras, and a documentarian from Westwood helped the members capture footage to bring their concepts to life. Members later attended workshops and editing sessions at two of Westwood’s four Chicago-area locations – DuPage and Chicago Loop – and learned how to turn the raw footage into a compelling music video that clearly portrays the message that Englewood youth want to make a difference in creating a better life for themselves and their peers.
“When we first heard about this video, we saw it as an opportunity to do what we do best: teach. We wanted to give back, not just by providing funds, but by getting involved with these boys and helping them realize their goal,” said Callahan. “Our goal was to inspire them to create the video from start to finish and show them their potential when it comes to learning new skills. The result is a captivating video that will inspire people to support Crushers Club and its mission.”
“Crushers Club was the winner of A Better Chicago’s 2012 social innovation competition, Project Impact. Through this competition, Crushers Club won a grant of $100,000 and a year of management support services from A Better Chicago and our partners,” said Liam Krehbiel, founder and CEO, A Better Chicago. “We were thrilled to connect Crushers Club with Westwood College for this important project. The staff at Westwood College has gone beyond just supporting the organization – they’ve shown these boys their potential and made an incredible impact on the organization and the community.”
The video can be viewed at Westwood College/Crushers Club and promotes the fundraising efforts for Crushers Club. Viewers are asked to text “crushers” to 501501 to help fund its programs, including the goal of opening a restaurant where club members will also learn valuable work skills.
About Westwood College
Westwood College is an institution of higher learning with 14 campuses located in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois and Virginia. Westwood offers a hands-on, career-focused curriculum in fields such as healthcare, technology and business. Westwood is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). A 2012 survey conducted by Noel-Levitz showed Westwood students are significantly more satisfied than the comparison group of approximately 125 public and private colleges, particularly in the areas of course content, quality of instruction and the school meeting their career goals. For more information, visit westwood.edu.
About Crushers Club
Crushers Club, formerly known as Restoring the Path, redirects the path of youth engaging in negative behavior due to gang activity and affiliation by providing boxing, mentoring, spiritual development, and love. Crushers Club arms young people with the support and skills they need to restore their lives, avoid gang affiliation and improve school participation. A review of the organization’s impact reveals that 90 percent of participants have improved their school attendance and academic performance and that 98 percent stay off of probation.