Children of 9/11 Ten years later

Fourteen-year-old Launches Campaign to Empower Children

By Amy Kraft

Photo by Barby Espy

Last spring, Brook Peters completed his film The Second Day, a 30-minute documentary about the experience of teachers and children near ground zero on 9/11. After the film was featured at the Tribeca Film Festival, the 14-year-old was so moved by the overwhelming response from young people that he created a campaign for others to share stories about their inner strength.

The end result is the Show Your Strength Campaign. The online campaign is set up so young people from around the world can share their experience in facing life’s challenges.

“The world is still a hectic place,” Peters said. “You need to be resilient in all that happens.”

Since its inception a few weeks ago, the site has been visited by people from as far away as South Africa. Participants are asked to upload a photo of themselves with a statement of hope written on their bodies or on a piece of paper. Some participants also share personal stories in a comment box below their photo.

Jonathan Redaelly wrote about his experience growing up with an alcoholic father. He is pictured holding a piece of paper that reads Dream or Change.

“I am only 16 years old but I do know that it’s never too late to change your life,” he wrote. “I always dream of a future when I will be the father I wanted my dad to be.”

Stephanie shared of her struggles with bullies. “Don’t let people get to you, don’t let anyone bring you down,” she wrote.

To promote the project, Peters contacted the hit band, Simple Plan and asked if he could use their song What If for his campaign. Peters said the Montreal based rock group was very supportive of his mission and provided the song to use in a music video, which will be comprised of images submitted to the campaign by Friday September 30.

Simple Plan is currently on tour in Europe and was not be available for comment.

Once the music video is completed, Peters says he will continue to raise awareness about the importance of young people sharing their experiences and showing their strength.

“I want this to be a living thing and I want to work with other foundations and get involved in speaking engagements,” Peters said.



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CUNY Graduate School of Journalism