I have long contended that the very nature of Positive Music – the way it reaches people that otherwise can’t be reached – the way it touches both their mind and their heart, is saving lives. When you blend Positive Music with key positive self- image messages, and bring it to today’s youth, you are going to save even more lives. Today teen depression and suicide is reaching epidemic proportions. One person is doing all that she can to give hope and self-empowerment with every youth that she encounters. So proudly, we share our first Positive Imperative (PI) Profile interview with Sara Westbrook. (Interview with PI founder Victor Sinclair.
PI: When did you first decide you were going to be a singer?
Sara: I knew I was going to be a singer ever since I can remember. My mom tells me I was 3!
PI: There are lots of singers, but not that many that focus on Positive Music.
Sara: More credit to my mum Linda, who enrolled me in several motivational courses when I was just eleven.
Sara: Not yet. Life threw me some curves. In one sense they may seem like everyday occurrences, but not when you’re young. My parent’s divorce, low self esteem, the death of my dad, then doubting my dream of being a singer challenged my self-esteem.
PI: Those issues could knock anyone flat on their ass!
Sara: For sure but I was lucky. The motivational programs gave me many of the tools that allowed me to work through my issues.
PI: So what happened next?
Sara: After I began basing my songs around these issues, a principal asked me to perform for her students. The show ended up being more than just music. The students started asking me questions about my career. Then their questions turned to life issues. I answered them by sharing my personal stories and the life tools I used to help me move through my challenges.
PI: I’m sure that type of sharing becomes an important bridge, because looking at you today, you would never know it.
Sara: I don’t avoid issues. I share my issues with youth to let them know that there is a way to move through them. l share great choices I made – poor choices I made. I let youth know they are not alone. They see me now, and know there is hope.
PI: How do you do that?
Sara: I started to realize that young people wanted ways to help them move through their life situations. Knowing that music is a powerful way to communicate, I started including a life tool in every song I wrote. Then I noticed young people seem to relate best to my combination of singing and speaking. Then I realized how much I loved that combination as well. From that realization, using both speaking & singing, I created UPower Concerts – motivational concerts designed to inspire youth to make powerful choices.
‘Every song has a story. Every story has a song.’
PI: What does UPower mean?
Sara: Upower is our own personal power to believe in ourselves and to make great choices regardless of the circumstances.
PI: From my experience in working with youth in various capacities for well over 30 years I think that kids today have it harder than any other generation. They grow up faster, inherit the stresses of the world every time a newscast gets put on, where they often feel helpless to respond, and then you add issues like bullying which seems to be an epidemic.
These are the choices that we make – These are the chances that we take – Banging my head against the wall – Watching all the red bricks start to fall – Wondering how it could of played out -What’s my life all about? – What’s it all about? One decision, could change your life, and you can’t take it back, you can’t change the past, you’re just trying to live your life.
Lyrics from Sara Westbrook’s song “One Decision”
Sara: Negative things are happening but instead of focusing on them and feeling helpless I choose to say, “What choices can I make to move in a positive direction from those circumstances?” For example, I don’t focus on the word bullying. I focus on what I stand for which is RESPECT. It can apply to respect for their fellow students, their parents, property, their teachers and themselves.
PI: That seems like a great way to build a foundation for them to make positive choices in many areas of their life. But will one performance do the trick?
Sara: After a school has had a UPower concert they can then have a variety of UPower workshops. Having a UPower workshop is a great way to reinforce and keep the conversation of RESPECT going. The workshops provides them with a formula that has them see that choosing RESPECT for themselves and others always benefits their life in an amazing way. It’s very powerful when you have students stand up and share how disrespect has impacted them. It’s life changing for a youth to stand up and apologize for disrespecting another classmate, and then to see the empowerment in the classmate who hears the apology.
PI: I’ll bet you get some great feedback?
Sara: So many young people have never been given these tools. You can see it on their faces when a light bulb goes off. I get so much positive feedback from them. It’s very gratifying. I think my favourite is when a girl came up to thank me after a workshop and said “I feel like a plant, taken out of the darkness and put into the sunlight.” I could have cried.
PI: Let’s pause a couple of minutes and demonstrate how some of these ideas impact youth at a UPower Concert.
PI: That’s when you know how much difference you make Sara. There’s no question that your work is saving lives and opening doors to the possibilities of a bright and successful future for so many young people. It is so needed. What about your plans for the future?
Sara: Ha ha, you should see my bucket list…… more art, more healthy recipes, writing a book for youth, writing more Positive Music, and most of all continuing to touch the lives of thousands of young people through UPower concerts and UPower workshops.
PI: That last one is the key. So if you could write your Epitaph, what would you like to be remembered for?
Sara: I’d like to be remembered for being a respectful person and always having authentic and positive relationships, sharing the best ways to do that with as many people as possible.
~ PI/PMI Founder: Victor Sinclair
For more info on Sara Westbrook www.sarawestbrook.com
For more info on UPower Concerts. Click here.