Influence the Choice (IFC) recently held its 7th annual video contest awards ceremony at Issaquah High School on April 30.
IFC is a nonprofit prevention alliance working for a healthy, thriving community. It’s comprised of 12 community sectors — parents, youth, schools, business owners, medical professionals, government, media, faith-based organizations, organizations serving youth, civic or volunteer organizations and law enforcement — all working together to build a drug-free community.
IFC’s special projects coordinator, Katie Moeller, has been involved with the video contest since its inception in 2012. The video contest, Moeller says, is a way for students to share their voice and positively influence their peers.
“The video contest creates a platform for them to have their voices heard, and that’s so important,” she said. “Healthy youth makes for a healthy community.”
The video contest’s mission is to inspire youth to positively influence each other by producing two-minute public service announcements. The winning videos are eligible for cash prizes, with the grand prize of $1,000. The winning videos also will be shown at Issaquah School District (ISD) schools, on city TV stations and at civic events.
The prizes are sponsored by the Issaquah Kiwanis Club, Issaquah Rotary Club, Sammamish Kiwanis Club and the Sammamish Rotary Club. Lesley Austin of Issaquah Rotary, Janice Schindler of Sammamish Kiwanis, Cary Young of Sammamish Rotary and Fred Butler of Issaquah Kiwanis presented the awards at the ceremony.
The video contest has three categories: “My Choice to be Healthy: What Inspires Me to Make Positive Choices,” “To My Younger Self: Telling Middle Schoolers What They Can Do to Stay Drug-Free,” and new this year, “Create Your Own Prompt.”
Each video must be shorter than two minutes and include at least one fact from either the Healthy Youth Survey or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
For the 2019 video contest, 45 videos were submitted. Community members, teachers and students judged all 45 videos and selected the top three in each category.
Skyline High School seniors Navik Nanubhai and Isaac Romero won the grand prize for their rap video, “It’s Not Cool.”
Nanubhai and Romero filmed the video over their spring break. For Nanubhai, this is his second time submitting a video for the contest. He said resources like IFC are important because he knows people who use drugs and alcohol and he’s seen how it has negatively influenced their lives.
“Drugs are a big problem,” he said. “I know people—smart people—who use drugs and alcohol and it makes me sad. I look at them a bit differently because of their poor choices and I think resources like this are important because they’re here to help.”
According to Nanubhai, the rap was a poem at first. However, he said as he finished the lyrics he realized the message would be conveyed better through rap. Nanubhai called on Romero to help with the music.
“One of the biggest challenges in making this video is that neither of us are rappers,” Romero said.
“I don’t really rap much less listen to it, so I never really saw myself doing it,” Nanubhai said.
Moeller said she was proud of all the students who participated and appreciates their time and dedication to make videos to help their peers.
“This is a great opportunity for them to help their peers and for us to see into their lives from their eyes,” she said.
For more information about IFC, visit www.influencethechoice.org.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The photo caption has been corrected to report that Annika Vuppala received a first place award.