Connect with youth through their music and movies

Feb. 27, 2013 @ 05:31 AM

The music young people enjoy these days might not be the choice the adults in their lives prefer,  but knowing the music is the best way to connect with the youth.

Eric Rowles, president and CEO of “Leading to Change,” and one of the country’s most sought after experts on youth culture,  returned to the county Tuesday afternoon for a second consecutive year to address youth leaders and others working with young people across the county.

During one portion of the three-hour workshop sponsored by the Community Engagement Team of Rutherford County,  Rowles discussed the music and movies youth enjoy.

“Since earbuds are embedded with the youth, the tool can be used to speak to the youth on their level,” he said.  “Today’s music has a message. . .You and I don’t like to hear it, but use the music in the right setting . . .it can be a right tool,” he said. 

Rowles said songs such as “Blame It On The Alcohol” and “Red Solo Cup” are songs that ca used when talking about underage drinking if discussed in the proper text.

“Don’t run away from them. It is one of the most important tools and nothing is as important as their music,” he said. “Different songs have different messages.”

Rowles told the group in order to be tune with what youth are listening to today they can visit the website

“Anything related to young people this week is there,” he said. “If you want to know how they felt about the Oscars, go to the site,” he said. “If you want to know who they are thinking about, go there.”

Another helpful tool in working with youth is movies, Rowles said. He said the website to visit to know what youth are watching is

Rowles said 60 seconds of the movie can be downloaded. “It’s totally legal.”

“If you’re looking for the words, ‘forgiveness’, prevention’ or anything on how to reach youth, go to the site,” Rowles said.

Rowles said he was working with 45 young men once and he couldn’t seem to connect with them until they watched the movie “X-Men First Class.” He said in trying to answer questions from the youth about what they should do if someone does something to  them, they connected with the movie.

“Today is all about making connections. How do I make a connection with youth?” he asked.

“Are we creating an environment for success for our young people. We still don’t have it figure out .... but we have to be vulnerable adults .. sometimes we have good intentions, but does it backfire?” he asked.

Rowles is one of the country’s most sought after experts on youth culture. 

To learn more about Leading to Change, visit www.

The event was sponsored by the Community Engagement Team of Rutherford County.