By SUBURBAN LIFE MEDIA comp:000049183ad5:000000023d:5016 new
MWAH! Performing Arts Troupe tackles real-life issues in the lives of youth. (Photo provided)

Awareness and choices will be common themes in a special appearance in Bolingbrook by the youthful MWAH! Performing Arts Troupe. The 90-minute assembly at Brooks Middle School for all eighth-grade students will begin at 8:40 a.m. Monday, Nov. 4.

In addition to highlighting the threat posed by the recent influx of narcotics in the western suburbs, the troupe will focus on several recent cyber-bullying-related youth suicides, including a 12-year-old girl from Florida and several youth from downstate Illinois and the Chicago suburbs. And, in a positive contrast, they'll share recent success stories involving Brooks Middle School students and staff members.

Other issues in the spotlight – using various forms of the performing arts – will include the challenges of dealing with divorce and family break-ups; coping with racial and ethnic discrimination; and the appropriate handling of abusive situations, both at school and at home, including current procedures at Brooks for dealing with bullying.

The essence of the 12-member MWAH! ensemble – an acronym for Messages Which Are Hopeful – is real-life drama combined with contemporary music and lots of audience interaction.

A key objective on Monday will be to prompt Brooks eighth-graders to think about some life-and-death issues presented by peers and then relate the messages to their own lives.

In the finale, a number of Brooks students will join MWAH! troupe members in a choreographed hip-hop dance, having rehearsed together earlier that morning. The program will be held in the auditorium of the school, 350 Blair Lane.

Current troupe members range in age from 12 to 18, and attend 11 schools in seven cities and towns throughout the western suburbs, as well as Rockford.

The nonprofit troupe is affiliated with Kids Do Count, Inc. and the Chicago Area Project, a grassroots service and advocacy program based in Chicago, and part of an Illinois-wide community services network targeting at-risk youth and their families.

Arranging for the troupe’s appearance at Brooks has been Loretta Furtute, assistant principal; Danielle McDermott, eighth-grade counselor; and Cheryl Jordan, administrative assistant of the Bolingbrook office of the DuPage County Area Project, sponsor of the event.

Further information about the MWAH! Performing Arts Troupe is available at