Hear Me, a project of CMU’s CREATE Lab, strives to make the voices of children heard. This summer, they have chosen a larger-than-life medium that they hope will give children one more way to communicate: billboards.
So far, 50 billboards have been erected in Allegheny County and the surrounding region. The topics discussed cover everything from cyber-bullying and neighborhood violence to concerns over the environment. One billboard reads, “I still get called names… — Crystal, 16.” Another reads, “I was scared when I first heard the gunshot… — Sherdina, 12.” The billboards include links that viewers can follow to the Hear Me website where they’ll find audio stories from more than 3,000 students in 25 school districts.
“We assume that children today have plenty of opportunities to make their dreams, fears and hopes known, whether it’s by a mobile phone, computer or just talking,” said Heide Waldbaum, director of Hear Me, “But learning how to express themselves about things that they really care about — and getting adults and people in authority to really listen to them — is difficult for many young people.”
Waldbaum hopes that the regional launch will be followed by statewide, and eventually national, participation.