Welcome to YoungPop.org

The Home Of The Award-Winning Youth Under Construction Program! Our mission is to support youth with dynamic performing arts programs that promote positive behavior!!

By David “Mello-D” Sawicki, Youth Under Construction

In a time when stress, conflict, violence, fear and anxiety have become normal activity for today’s youth, how can we help them cope? Here are some ideas that may help to lift the spirits of the young people in your life.

I believe it all comes down to a simple concept: WORDS. Poignant, carefully chosen, timely words. Words are thoughts that we manifest in the form of communication. Words create feelings and emotions that lead to action. The task that we all must take on is how we will frame our words. Will we use positive or negative words? Will our words create or destroy?

Youth are overwhelmed with negativity. Some of you may have read my articles in the Edutech section of this publication where, on a monthly basis, I strive to build up the youth of metro Detroit with words of hope, motivation and inspiration. I consider myself a “positive words messenger” who understands the need for brevity and consistency in the words I choose. I also understand that words that talk down or insult a youths’ maturity are a waste of time. Not to discredit words of discipline, more about that later.

I am also the director and producer of Youth Under Construction, the positive music performing group that has toured this state for over 8 years.  This Program helps aspiring performing artists learn how to rap to a beat, while teaching them positive life messages through the songs lyrics which involve standing up against bullies and staying substance free. Back in August of 2006, the group presented a live show at a national conference, here in Detroit, for the Microsociety Organization, based out of Philadelphia. At this educational event, I was blessed with the opportunity to listen to a speech delivered by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s youngest daughter, the Reverend Bernice King.

This is a woman that is carrying on the legacy of her father in a very powerful way. She referred to the hip hop culture as one of the most destructive forces on youth today. She encouraged the audience of teachers, superintendents and educators, to become revolutionaries in the cause of youth.

After the speech, I purchased her book and met with Bernice King. She signed the book: “To David and Lisa Sawicki- Raise the Standard!!” Now, she may sign many books that way, however, those words struck me in an odd way. “I am already doing my best to raise the standard,” I thought. Well, maybe yes, maybe no…

Bernice King, the youngest daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with Lisa Sawicki and Mello-D from Youth Under Construction

Sure, my phone may ring on a daily basis with people asking about how they can become involved with our positive music movement. However, are my words and tone communicating the true urgency that is necessary for those callers to understand that this movement IS making a difference with youth? With teen violence and suicide at epidemic levels, is my message that there ARE positive entertainment alternatives RIGHT NOW really coming across? Or, I might also ask myself, “Is anybody listening?”

Let’s examine the pop culture that is heavily promoted to youth today. Statistics show that the average student listens to 40 hours of music PER WEEK. These students take their music very seriously, in fact, they might even hurt you if you try to take it away from them. Yet Entertainment Monitor reports that less than 10 of the top 40 popular releases are free from graphic violence or sexual references, inappropriate for youth. The negative programming is subtle and clever, and yet diabolical in nature.

Parental advisory labels actually attract youth and record companies market these products directly to youth while stores do not hesitate to sell it to them. In fact, if you tell a young person NOT to listen to this or that, and they will become curious and seek to discover just why it raises so much controversy. A parent can try to keep it out of their home, yet the culture is present everywhere- on TV, as background music in stores and malls, on the internet, blasting out of car stereos as you wait for a light to change… you get the idea. We cannot control what comes out of the airwaves, which many feel have become so lax in their attitude of how this may affect this young generation.

“Oh, I don’t listen to the words, I just like the beat!” is the default phrase of a young person that is challenged on their music choices. Yet watch their lips recite the lyrics as a song is played. Understand, I am not an artist- or genre-basher. Many people have fought long and hard to reduce censorship standards. But have we gone too far? Just what kind of life and future are we creating for these youth, our future leaders?

Now, some tough questions, dear reader. What kind of entertainment will YOU promote to the youth in your life that are past the Sesame Street phase? Choose wisely and you may help contribute to a young persons well-being and confidence. Encouraging self-discipline for youth is absolutely necessary.

Pardon a little shameless self-promotion here. The Youth Under Construction CD has NO parental advisory labels. It does however, have labels from 2 of the 4 national parenting related competitions that we have won- at the top levels. Parenting Magazine has us listed on their website in the Parenting Pick’s- music section. I mention these endorsements to underscore the fact that this is a quality, sophisticated production that is youth-appropriate and has earned the right to become a part of every single young person’s CD or digital music collection. It took 15 years of my life to make that possible. And I did this for YOU.

I’m just trying to raise the standard… are you listening?

For anyone curious about what “positive pop music, appropriate for teens and pre-teens” sounds like, please visit this page to sample full-length songs with an option to purchase downloads: 

Click to Preview & Purchase Music of the Youth Under Construction Project

Be sure to check out the “anti-bully” song: “Opinions- Don’t Bully Me!” 

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“THEY ALL COME OUT”

We’ve all been there. You are going about your daily routine, minding your own business, and SURPRISE!- out of nowhere- comes a distraction or unexpected situation. This is the premise behind a new song by Mello-D, titled “They All Come Out for Halloween”. A new just-released video was created with youth and their families in the town of Armada, Mich., which can be viewed here, below.

A LIVE SHOW TO SUPPORT YOUTH

That song and many others will be performed at a fundraising event for the new “Youth Under Construction- Lyric Power Anti-Bully” Program. Here are the details:

Mello-D Friends & Fiends- “They All Come Out for Halloween & Youth!” Wed., Oct. 24, 8:30-10:30 pm @ O’Mara’s Restaurant, 2555 12 Mile Rd. in Berkley (12 Mile & Coolidge). COVER: $10 Adults, $5 youth under 12 yrs.

COSTUME CONTEST WITH PRIZES, RAFFLE AND GIVEAWAYS!!

This is a fundraiser for Pages to Stages, a 501(c) 3 org. that promotes positive youth programs. Proceeds will benefit the presentation of an anti-bullying program in a local elementary school. SPREAD THE WORD AND SEE YOU THERE!! For more info call 248-545-4411.

THE VIDEO

Just posted, the views for this video are climbing quickly. Please share this with your family and friends:

TO PURCHASE THE SONG (via Secure Server)

iTunes: iTunes.com

CD Baby: cdbaby.com

Amazon: Amazon.com

50% OF NET SALES WILL BE DONATED TO THE PAGES TO STAGES NON-PROFIT ORG. TO SUPPORT POSITIVE YOUTH PROGRAMS.

To Learn More About “They All Come Out For Halloween:

Click to read the article: http://www.free-press-release.com

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By David “Mello-D” Sawicki, Youth Under Construction

“Kids Deserve a Better Rap.” This is a slogan and one of the main purposes of the music and dance group that I direct and produce, called Mello-D’s “Youth Under Construction” (MDYUC). Prior to the start of a concert on Belle Isle this past July
1st, new member Erielle J. Bell read her opinion on rap lyrics, and I would like to share it with you:

“I think kids deserve a better rap because some of the lyrics in today’s songs are inappropriate for children. Rap music is okay if it has no cursing. Most of the videos go right along with the songs. They have nasty images and the dancers dance in a disrespectful way. The songs and videos do not teach children any good lessons, and the rappers are not very good role models. Also, I think they do not educate youths to become better people. That’s why kids deserve a better rap!”

Arielle Bell Performing with Youth Under Construction.

For those not familiar with MDYUC, it is important that we set the record straight. Our policy is to never force or tell anyone what they should watch or listen to. One of our songs, called “Opinions (I’ve Got Mine)” features these lyrics: “If you don’t judge me, I won’t judge yougive me constructive feedback from a positive view”. So to single out rappers and say they are bad would be inconsistent with our positive message. Our CD’s title track assumes that youth “know the difference between right and wrong” and we believe they do. However, knowing and acting out are two different things.

So many young people get caught up in the infectious or tantalizing beat of a song and excuse the lyrical content, saying,

“I don’t listen to the words, I just like the beat!” Yet I’ve watched them mouth the words as they listen to the beat and they can recite every single lyric on a track. How is this possible? It’s simple: our minds are very powerful.

The memory does not judge what it takes in. The most powerful computers in the world today still cannot compete with the human brain. So what goes into our memory DOES affect us and stays with us. Have you ever heard a song that you just could not get out of your head?

On the MDYUC website, www. youngpop.org, we asked that question as a survey-poll, and almost all of the 300 voters answered “YES!” (at least sometimes). The power of music and video should NEVER be taken for granted.

The key word here is BALANCE. If you load up your memory with expressions and images of negativity and hurtful thoughts, you will feel weighed down by all of that. People can feel depressed after repeated exposure to hopeless situations or violence. Why not research, seek out and support entertainment that will build you and others up. Write
your own positive expressions down, whether poetry, a letter to someone, or a simple journal- writing notes to yourself.

Sure, say what you mean, and why not keep it real AND clean! Why not be CREATIVE and work to flip the script on the negativity and re-frame a bad situation. Yes, it can be work sometimes to do this. Life has its bad twists and turns. Still,
haven’t we heard enough about who did who wrong? Or listening to someone so angry and going on and on about how they want to kill someone? Give it a break- we ALL deserve better…

 

Youth Under Construction will be enrolling for Fall Courses shortly.

Read our list of positive choice recommendations, updated regularly on the website, www.youngpop.
com.
For more informationon MDYUC call
248-545-4411.

Categories : Uncategorized
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Have an interest in helping youth to be their best? Need internship credit or community service hours or just want to make a positive difference? Contact YoungPop.org today at 248-545-4411 for information on how you can be a valuable asset to their organization and mission: “To support youth with dynamic performing arts programs that promote positive behavior.” Help is requested in the following areas:

  • Facilitators, in various performing arts disciplines,
  • Fund Development & Fundraising,
  • Special Events Coordination,
  • Social Media and Marketing, 
  • Writing, photography, video shoots and editing,
  • Flyer creation, Board Development

More volunteer opportunities are available, contact us for more info. You may also click the “Contact” button to email your contact information. Thanks in advance for your interest, we look forward to hearing from you!

Jul
24

Develop Your “It” Factor

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By David “Mello-D” Sawicki,
Director,Youth Under Construction

WHAT IS “IT”?

You hear it whenever an outstanding new performer or celebrity comes on the scene: “They have IT! They are going to be a star!” While “IT” is something difficult to describe, this can be very important for aspiring artists to understand and work to develop as they pursue their dreams.

Finding YOUR personal “IT” factor can be tricky. In fact, the more you try to develop “IT,” the more difficult it can
become to actually get “IT.”

Greg Dunmore, locally known artist manager  provides some great insights to this phenomenon. Mr. Dunmore states: “The “IT” factor is that indescribable something extra special that can‚t be put into mere words. “IT” is what “IT” is! Although you cannot really buy “IT”, you can develop other things that surround one’s “IT” factor. There are qualities that make your “IT” a real hit.”

A heartfelt smile, kind words of encouragement in lure of insults and that non-verbal eye contact that communicates respect for others whether they have “IT” or not.

Humility and civility help to make whatever your unique “IT” shine brighter. Oprah is a good example of an “IT” girl. Her generosity and humanity towards those less fortunate makes her “IT” factor not only sparkle, but it makes us more eager to applaud her ongoing accomplishments easily and without envy. Some words of advice: Don’t waste time trying to find your “IT” factor. Spend your energy on those precious qualities that will beautifully frame “IT”!

It needs to be said here: TALENT, developed and nurtured, in addition to a well-thought out plan, cannot be ignored. While some are born with the gift of singing or dancing, they still have to spend a great deal of time honing their craft and fine-tuning their stage presence.

What is “IT” that makes YOU STAND OUT?

I recall the night I observed Ms.Alicia Keys as she was being interviewed at the Grammys. I was captivated by her poise and self-assured persona in what appeared to be an unrehearsed segment. She displayed confidence “beyond her years,” as the saying goes. As the director of the Youth Under Construction project, we work hard to find that special “IT” in each and every one of the performers we work with and coach in our Show Zone performance course.

Finally, I want to state that not everyone needs to develop an “IT” factor. There are those that can pursue their dreams and creative expression for the pure enjoyment of it all. I hope these words will be an inspiration, not a source of discouragement, for anyone seeking to improve themselves in the performing arts or ANY personal goal you strive to achieve.

For me, just showing up everyday, and giving your best, is “IT.”

Confidence. Positive programming. Improved stage presence. Perfor-mance skills-building in a comfortable atmosphere. Youth Under Construction is currently enrolling students for the next
Show Zone course and other after school programming.

Categories : aspiring performers
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Jun
25

News of the Week

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YoungPop.org in the News!!

Click Here To Read The Story: Anti-Bullying Group Asks Students To “Sing 4 Change”

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Performing Arts Program Puts a Positive Spin on Rap Music for Youth:

The Youth Under Construction Performance Arts Course POSTPONED TO THE FALL

ATTENTION: Young talent interested in singing, dancing, rapping, break-dancing, speaking, acting, PLUS photo, video, graphics, set design and audio production instruction.

“The perfect program for aspiring young performers! Teens and pre-teens can now get instruction and resources they need to succeed. Youth Under Construction shows young artists how to rap to a beat to help stop bullies from bullying- Highly recommended!”

Call 248-545-4411 for enrollment information.

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Why Donate to YoungPop.org

Providing youth with a positive pop culture alternative is SO important in an age where so much of the entertainment can be have a negative affect on a child’s development. Your Donations can help to make a difference. Through…  Read More Here

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Jun
13

Heart Of Detroit Run

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“Heart of Detroit” Run/ Walk fundraiser

On June 24th Young Pop Participated in then “Heart Of Detroit” Run/Walk Fundraiser which benefited many local area non-profits including Youth Under Construction/Youngpop.org!!

The event was a ton of fun!! Even paws had a great time!!

YoungPop would like to thank everyone who was involved in fundraising efforts for the run as well as those who helped out behind the scenes.

Everyone who was in attendance at the event had a great time, and it was great to meet with so many phenomenal organizations across metro Detroit who are all working with the mission to make our area a better place!!

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1505 E. 11 mile Rd. Royal Oak, MI 48067 248-545-4411 youthcd@gmail.com

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