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The Undroppables

Tingley-021 color webSocial media have proved to be a powerful force in influencing group thought and behavior.  Can it be a tool to help prevent school dropouts?

With a nod to the It Gets Better videos, which have been viewed more than 50 million times, a documentary film maker has begun posting short videos of kids who have plenty of reasons to drop out of school, but don’t.  Jason Pollock, 30, believes that these videos, called “The Undroppables,” may eventually have the same positive effect as those directed towards LGBT kids.

Pollock works with the Get Schooled Foundation, affiliated with MTV, to find students to film.  Last month Pollock posted the first 70 interviews to YouTube, and while they haven’t yet gone viral, Pollock is hopeful.  He plans to speak at school assemblies and uses Twitter and Tumblr to find more kids interested in being part of this project.  Eventually the interviews will become part of a larger documentary.  Time Magazine reports that Pollock believes that the documentary could be used in classrooms to motivate students to stay in school long after the YouTube interest has faded.

Time reports that 1.2 million kids drop out of school every year, so if Pollock’s vignettes make a positive difference, it’s a step in the right direction.  The stories shared by the kids in the videos make you shake your head and wonder how they managed to survive, let alone succeed.  It’s a question of resilience, of course, but where does that resilience come from?

There have been numerous studies of resilience in children, and several identify similar factors associated with it.  For example, a sense of competence and self-control along with intelligence and good communication skills can protect youngsters from falling into the trap of drugs or crime.  Studies show that kids with at least one dependable adult figure in their lives have a better chance of succeeding.  In addition, self-efficacy and hope are positive factors.  And of real importance are good school experiences.  That’s where we come in.

Posted below is one of the Undroppable interviews.  This one and others like it might be something you’d want to share with your staff.



Wrote a blog spotlighting Undroppable and politicians' inability to reform education. If you're interested (and don't feel bad if you're not), you can find it here: http://mobilize.org/2012/08/i-undroppable-big-social-media-campaign-takes-education-reform/

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