Activist educates youth about preventing violence, drug use via Instagram

He's also using the platform to heal himself.

Cherri Gregg
July 12, 2018 - 9:17 pm
Brandon Chastang

Cherri Gregg | KYW Newsradio

Categories: 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A Philadelphia substitute teacher-turned-activist is putting his education skills to the test with innovative videos designed to stop violence and drug use among youth. 

The videos act out real-life scenarios on topics as varied as domestic violence, to living on the "down low," to neighborhood violence, but they all share a common thread — and each teaches a lesson.

"A lot of these ideas, they come from personal experience," explained 36-year-old Brandon Chastang, the man behind the videos posted on his b.mcfly_ Instagram account. His page has dozens of posts designed to spark conversation and change within the community, specifically with youth.
 
"Because they don't see it," he added, "when you are running around, playing around, just doing whatever you are doing — bad or good — you don't see your life. This allows them to press play."

TAG/REPOST -------- basketball court summertime shoot outs --by: @wpking_49 @supportdatrap_ #repost #Stoptheviolence #worldstarhiphop #rawanduncut #nogunzone #youthempowerment #MotivationalPurposes

A post shared by الخطيب العام Brandon Chastang (@b.mcfly_) on

----------TAG/REPOST --by: @mrs_barksdale29 #drugaddiction can make some people do crazy things like use their #drugOfchoice --in front of their children! Then what⁉️ an #overdose ----‍♂️⚰️

A post shared by الخطيب العام Brandon Chastang (@b.mcfly_) on

In just a few months, Chastang has racked up more than 18,000 followers on Instagram, and some of the videos have received hundreds of thousands of views. The videos, he said, help with his recovery process. Chastang was hooked on painkillers for a decade. 

He started taking Percocets after getting shot in 2004, leading to a revolving door of relapse and sobriety.

"Why take a Tylenol, why take aspirin when a Percocet could take the pain away that fast," he recalled. "I want to show them that you can change."

He uses family members and friends to act out the skits, while users see Chastang in the videos telling the lesson. 

"Not only am I showing them skits, but I'm teaching them how to be sober in doing it," he continued. "I'm showing these kids you don't have to be high to get creative."