Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | The SummerBreakers get serious: a lesson in accountability

August 29, 2016


The convivial cast of the anthology reality Youtube series, SummerBreak, have managed to achieve a feat both exclusive and elusive: they’ve gone viral on the Internet in 2016, just by being themselves within their natural habitat, and recording it for posterity. SummerBreak chronicles the adventures of a group of Generation Z’ers who are surviving as high school juniors and seniors in fast-paced LA, stringing their individual experiences into one cohesive coming-of-age narrative. Though each kid brings their own unique story, perspective, and personality to the table, they’re characteristically carefree, straddling the line between adolescence and adulthood while they enjoy the months in between their senior year or their first year of college.

But guess what? Despite the focus on summer mayhem and perfect tans, the drama between friends, and the short-lived romances, these kids are more than just the best-curated versions of their onscreen personas. They’re more than just entertainment for a select audience of fellow teenagers. They’ve got hearts, too. And the very best example of that, uploaded to the SummerBreak Youtube channel a few days ago, is also on the brink of virality.

The video takes place within a drastically different environment; free of sand, crashing ocean waves, and sunshine. A new character is introduced into the mix, and she is 100% herself. There is no careful curation or camera editing for the sake of entertainment, of presenting the best persona. She simply arrives as she is, shocking the summer kids and bringing them into her world. Yet this is no reality show. In the span of less than four minutes, their carefree attitude is replaced by a somber kind of understanding that can only happen when accountability is staring you in the face.

SummerBreak’s channel is sponsored by AT&T, and the cast members partnered with AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign, which is aimed at spreading awareness about the dangers of texting and driving through education, advocacy, and action. “It Can Wait” encourages drivers to pledge to drive safely, and the emotional video you’re about to see is not only wedded to their mission, but is bound to resonate with a demographic who desperately needs this message driven home and back again.

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