Body Electric believes that young people want to be respected for their abilities and ideas. Body Electric sees each person as an actor, artist, musician, or writer; all with the ability to create messages that encourage healthy living.
Since 1998, Body Electric has provided data and support to communities to combat teen health risk behaviors. With a solid foundation in tested prevention strategies, the main goal is to develop and promote messages through student art work that will lead to healthy lifestyle choices. Youth are equipped with knowledge, skills, materials, and assistance to creatively express their health concerns for each other and for their communities. They are articulate, thoughtful, and altruistic in researching topics and choosing a wide variety of arts media to communicate their prevention messages. Projects have captured the attention, imagination, and appreciation of many viewers.
As a part of the Healthy Communities Department at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center, Body Electric is instrumental in achieving the Center’s mission and vision of creating healthy communities. Body Electric also has an Advisory Council with members representing parents, community service agencies, educational institutes, faith based organizations, and business and industry in Clark, Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Moultrie, and Shelby Counties.
Collecting Local Health Data
Implemented in 2012, the Illinois Youth Survey (IYS) is conducted biennially to establish the most prevalent teen health concerns. Prior to 2012, we used the Body Electric Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Since 1998, some of the top issues identified through the survey include alcohol, body image, and drugs (substance abuse). The students use the data from the IYS as a springboard for project ideas that promote healthy lifestyle choices.
Giving Youth a Voice
Teens are assisted by Body Electric staff and college or community mentors as they choose a health issue and research the best method to convey a prevention message. Funds are awarded for the purchase of materials to produce an art project which may include music and video production, two and three dimensional art, and creative writing.
Communicating to the Community
An art tour is delivered to students and the community focusing on the healthy messages of the teen projects. Posters featuring the art are also exhibited in numerous businesses through the “Changing Arts, Changing Hearts” program.