“I still can’t believe this is happening!” says PJ Poloai, about his upcoming trip to the nation’s capital at the end of February. PJ, a student from Redwood City, California, is one of six young filmmakers representing the Adobe Youth Voices program at the Department of Education Youth Listening Tour finale in Washington, DC.
Also traveling with PJ will be Diamante Horton, another young filmmaker from the Bay Area. Both Diamante and PJ contributed to the creation of “I Am The Difference,” one of the flagship music videos produced at the Adobe Youth Voices Peapod Academy in Redwood City.
The two continued their partnership last fall when they contributed to the production of “20/20 Vision”, a music video created for the Youth Listening Tour’s Bay Area stop in October 2010.
Both young men have a lot to say to policy makers on the subject of education.
Diamante, a junior in high school and the oldest of three siblings, would like to continue his music education in spite of the fact that his family struggles financially and neither of his parents completed college.
Says Diamante, “I want leaders to know, I need financial aid. Overall, as a country we need more academic support for our students that struggle in school and cannot find the help that they need.“
“If we had an equal amount of educational resources that private and charter schools have, I know there would be an increase in graduates,” adds PJ. “We would all be more successful.”
Like many of their peers, Diamante and PJ have been profoundly impacted by the Adobe Youth Voices program.
PJ believes that his experiences have been life changing, giving him a second family and helping him discover and explore his passion for music: “To be honest, if it wasn’t for the Adobe Youth Voices Peapod Academy, I would either be in prison or dead.”
Diamante also says that the program allowed him to “find himself” and discover his passion for music, and helped him to set the direction for his life beyond high school: “My past was a poor life I lived through, and now my future is looking bright.”