In BC in 2012 there was significant public concern over the seemingly widespread use of the drug Ecstasy. There were deaths attributed to the use of ecstasy that contained PMMA. Grant Funding was made available to police agencies for one-time collaborative projects to raise awareness and increase public education for youth. The amount of funding available per project was up to $25,000. The funding was available through proceeds from Civil Forfeiture, Ministry of Justice, British Columbia.
Applicants were required to be police agencies that had identified a community based organization, local government, health authority or school district specifically for collaboration on the project.
A grant proposal was submitted by Penticton South Okanagan Similkameen RCMP, in collaboration with Interior Health Authority, Ministry of Children and Families and Boys and Girls Club South Okanagan.
The Creative Foursome:
In anticipation of a positive response to the grant application, the partners continued research in order to inform the direction of the project. During this period two of the partner agencies representatives had to withdraw from the project, one due to a maternity leave and the other relocation to another community. This left two of the original agencies with hands on involvement with the project development; RCMP (Terri) and Interior Health Authority (Ginger). Based on the changed demographic of the partners, the remaining partners focused on developing a self-sustaining project, without the necessity of relying on subject matter experts. In a stroke of luck, Terri and Ginger connected with the partners in Mind Festival Learning (Nikos and Linda Theodosakis). In consultation, the goal of creating You Tube videos shifted to become a resource focused on story based learning that engaged the participants in directing the path of the story. This project became known as the Mike and Vicki Project, www.mikeandvicki.ca
A Community Comes Together:
A fortuitous result of the changed direction of the project was the development of relationships in areas outside of the usual collaborators for addictions and justice agencies. These new relationships included the local arts community which contributed tremendously to the development of the resource. Most significant was the relationship and collaboration that developed with Mind Festival Learning who brought technical and creative expertise in production/ planning and story-writing. Without this collaboration the Mike and Vicki Project would not have developed into its current form as a story based resource. This, in the view of the grant applicants, would have greatly diminished the ability to effectively engage and educate both youth and community.
The production was filmed in and around Penticton and Naramata B.C, with local youth portraying the characters Mike, Vicki and their friends. The soundtrack was scored and performed by local high school student Patrick McCann. The images were directed and photographed by Vancouver photographer Matia Theodosakis. The local high school provided a testing ground for the resource and the youth subsequently provided feedback that was essential to the development of the resource.
Project funding provided by:
Ministry of Justice British Columbia
Penticton RCMP Interior Health Authority MindFestival Learning