The "N" Factor

By: Tina Stein
By: Tina Stein

A bunch of teens were throwing around the "N" word today. But it's not what you think. This "N" stands for 'now'. Area teens say 'now' is the time to get involved in the community.

This Rockford East senior hit a rough patch early on in her high school career. Brandy Mortimore's father died three years ago prompting poor decisions and nights filled with heavy drinking.

"I just took a turn for the worse I got really depressed and started doing things I shouldn't of I finally got out of that...I'm more involved in the community," says Brandy Mortimore.

Brandy is one of 16 students who are part of Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey's Youth Advisory Council. The group has developed a campaign known as the "N" factor. N stands for now and now group leaders say is the time for teens to do something positive with their lives.

"There's a lot of theories out there about kids getting in trouble cause they don't have enough to do we'd like to reside really positive activities kids could get involved in both concerts, events, and community activities so they have something they can be engaged in," says Jennifer Jaeger, the Community Service Director of the City of Rockford Human Services Department.

In addition to hosting events, the "N" Factor will launch public service announcements in October. They're also starting a membership program where members earn points for attending "N" Factor events.

These points are then exchanged for "N" Factor merchandise. Group members say such events can help keep teens away from drinking.

"At this point in time you're more perceptible to getting into bad stuff and being involved in something right now is a good thing," Mortimore says.

"N" Factor members say they hope to get, not just Rockford teens, but all area high schoolers involved in the group. If the campaign winds up being a success. They say it will be aimed at junior high and middle schoolers in the future.

United Way donated 12-thousand dollars to help with the campaign. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity as well as the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois are helping with the "N" Factor as well.


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