Two juniors work with Teen Voice for Change


Two juniors, AJ McNamee and Sam Falvey, have been speaking out for equality through Teen Voice For Change (TVFC). The group is run by teenage members and supervised by one sponsor, focusing on community projects and zeroing in on issues like diversity awareness.

“It’s basically a bunch of teen-made community projects. We have long term goals that affect the Parkway schools, and we can take what we learn there. [We can] use social justice clubs and things like that to make the changes,” McNamee said. “Our current goal is to increase LGBT awareness  LGBT and we are doing little stories and things like that. Our long-term goal is to change the handbook about antidiscrimination.”

The current project is to raise awareness of specific issues like LGBT equality.

“The project TVFC is currently developing is less about community service than about community building, which is growing awareness of each other and rising the levels of compassion and connection between people. This project is important because the TVFC members really care about the issues of social justice and diversity,”  the adult leader of the group, Ken McManus said.

TVFC impacts the community through messaging, advocacy, service or fund raising.”

— Ken McManus

The group is led by McManus who works to give the support necessary for TVFC to operate.

“These supports range from securing space and materials, to recording meeting minutes and arranging technical assistance when needed. I have spent my whole career working with teenagers. It matters very much to me that I can help provide new, additional opportunities for kids to get involved in their communities,” McManus said.

McNamee’s responsibilities within TVFC include but are not limited to social media and getting more people involved.

“I am in charge of getting the word out and we want more people to come and check it out. It’s a cool way to get government service hours and there are a lot of cool people there,” McNamee said. “It’s not really a big group right now and if there were more people, there would be more of an impact. Right now we have around 15 people and new people can just come to the meetings and be a part of it.”

Falvey works on getting the word out for with her, and McNamee’s side project to promote awareness and further the TVFC project called People of West County.

“We go around and take pictures and get quotes from different people and then we are going to upload them to Facebook and Twitter. We do it to get more people to know about the project and our ideas. It’s a way to show people that there are people like them out there; you’re not alone,” Falvey said. “It enlightens me about the people in Missouri. It is interesting to hear these peoples’ stories. I’m not very outgoing and it’s been a nice way to meet new people.”

At each meeting, members discuss the progress of their project.

“We discuss how we can go about how we can go about the project and the progress we have made and how each individual group is impacted,” McNamee said.

The group is mainly run by the teenage members.

“Teenagers are powerful, capable people. Teenagers are a tremendous resource for our communities that too often is overlooked. I started TVFC because our parent coalition, Alliance for Healthy Communities (, has a lot of data that shows many teens in our area do not experience being important or making a difference in their communities,” McManus said.

Giving the teenage members a chance to make a change in their community, the group is planning to make a difference for people of different identities and sexual orientations.

“An important aspect of being healthy and fulfilled for people of all ages is to experience that we make a difference in the world around us. Hence, if Parkway area teens are to be ‘at their best’, they need opportunities to make an impact,” McManus said.

All interested in joining the group are welcome. TVFC meets the first and third Wed. evening of each month in the Parkway ISC, 12657 Fee Fee Rd., 63146.

“Participating in TVFC is open to all area teenagers who want to contribute. The only ‘requirement’ for participation is being willing and available to work. Individuals who want to participate from West can contact Ms. Tommie Rowe at West or me by e-mail at [email protected],” McManus said.