Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont Proudly Supports the Listen Up! Project Tour

Listen Up Project cast and crew

We are a proud underwriter of the Listen Up! Project and encourage anyone who has a young adult in their life to support and watch the Listen Up Project performance.

Berlin, Vermont – As a proud underwriter of the Listen Up! Project, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont (Blue Cross) is encouraging teens and anyone who has a young adult in their life to attend a show near them. This original touring musical was inspired, written, scored, and performed by Vermont teens. The production is the result of feedback from 913 Vermont youth collected through workshops, in-depth interviews, conferences, and special events statewide.

“Being a teenager is a challenge during the best of times, but during the pandemic we have seen the number of crises among youth spike to alarming levels,” says Don George, President and CEO of Blue Cross. “The Listen Up! Project offers a space for teens to speak openly and honestly about the challenges they face and be validated by their peers and their community.”

Themes that emerged from the project include dealing with trauma, mental health issues and anxiety; coping with life’s ups and downs with grit and resilience; activism; assets that youth carry with them such as their collective voice; and diversity from multiple perspectives, including racial, ethnic, sex- and gender-based diversity, alongside shared truths despite their differences. The stories, hopes, challenges and dreams these teens have shared form the basis of the play’s script and its original music, all of which is being written and performed by Vermont teens and will be touring  across the state in early August.

“When we approach wellness from a whole-person perspective, our teens are better supported, and our entire community is healthier,” says Dr. Josh Plavin, a primary care Internal Medicine and Pediatrics physician, and the Chief Medical Officer at Blue Cross. “When people know that they are not alone in what they are facing, and when parents feel like they have the tools to support their teens, they can combat isolation, depression, and suicide.”

Parents and community members are encouraged to attend the Listen Up! tour with their teenagers. They will have access to education and tools at each event that will build the confidence to have valuable conversations when teens are struggling. 

Nine live events will be held across Vermont from August 4-August 15. In October, the show will be available to schools and parents to download.

“Sometimes we look at our kids and wonder how they grew into these full-size humans so quickly,” says Megan Peek, Director of Community Relations and Health Promotion at Blue Cross. “So often parents feel disconnected from their teenagers or they feel like they are simply speaking a different language. The bottom line is that we all need to let teens know ‘We hear you and we’re listening. You’re okay the way you are. Use your voice, share your experience and be your authentic self.’”

Blue Cross offers Case Management services to support both parents and teens when they simply don’t know where to go for help. The Case Management team is available for their members who need health resources, support, and care. Blue Cross is committed to meeting the needs of underserved communities and those who are struggling silently.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is Vermont’s only local, not-for-profit health plan. For over 30 years, the company has been enhancing the health and well-being of the Vermonters by offering innovative plans to individuals, seniors and businesses. Our employees are dedicated to developing new ways to support high quality care and programs and events that promote wellness. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.