Youth RadioFounded in 1992, Youth Radios mission is to promote young peoples intellectual,creative, and professional growth through training and access to media and to producethe highest quality original media for local and national outlets. At the heart of YouthRadio’s pioneering effort is a youth development practice that combines training injournalism and media production with health and academic support services. In 2007,Youth Radio moved from its storefront location in Berkeley to a forefront Media &Technology Center located in downtown Oakland. The move enabled Youth Radio toincrease the number of young people it serves, and design a center specifically focusedon training participants utilizing cutting-edge technology. Currently Youth Radio houses3 media training classes for 14-18 year old high school students. Participants whocomplete 6-months of Youth Radio training are eligible for paid on-site internships whilein high school, and part-time associate level positions until the age of 24. In recentyears, this workforce component of our programming has increased to meet the needsof our participants and the demands of the new media landscape.Youth Radio produced this short video highlighting our tech and media work.However, in the nearly 20 years that Youth Radio has been doing youth media work,we’ve come to realize that technology education and employment training areultimately most effective when coupled with wraparound support services. Thus, YouthRadio shifted from our original pure media education focus to a more holistic educationmeets wellness model. Academic and career advising, mental health services andindividual case management are now integral elements of our youth work.The most recent step in our institutional evolution is the addition of youth-led publichealth advocacy programming. Using new social media platforms as well as in-personoutreach and workshop training, Youth Radio interns engage and educate theircommunities on a variety of public health issues. These issues include teen datingviolence, safer sex and STI prevention, food access and equity, and the commercialsexual exploitation of minors.But let’s pull back from the bigger picture and get into what the work looks like on theground across the various programs. We’ve invited all of the staff and youth teammembers who will be attending the ECE conference to share a little bit aboutthemselves and their work. And of course, since we are all “non-profitty,” there areIcebreaker questions!
Meet the TeamErikDirector of AdministrationMy name is Erik Sakamoto and I am a fourth generation Japanese-American with familyroots in Honolulu, Hawaii (mother) and Oakland, California (father). I grew up in a fewparts of the Bay Area, and attended high school in San Mateo (an area about 20 minutessouth of San Francisco). After college in Southern California, I moved to mygrandmother’s home in Oakland (a sort of tradition for males on my pops side), andhave lived in the city ever since. It’s where I’ve decided to commit myself: as acommunity member, a husband, a father, and a youth worker.I came to Youth Radio in 2006 having done a fair share of work in the world ofcommunity based non-profits and education in Oakland. I was originally hired tocoordinate a new class that focused on Oakland’s young people (while Youth Radio wasstill based out of Berkeley) who were deemed ‘hardest to serve’ due to their lack ofengagement with school and their history of contact with the justice system. At thetime, the position seemed designed for my interest and experience in Oakland youthwork, media literacy and technical skill training, and prevention/intervention. As anaside, it is a source of some measure of pride that two of my ECE teammates carry onthe work (having enhanced it tremendously) of this program. Eventually, I came to leadYouth Radio’s Youth Development and Training programs, and recently moved into aprimarily administrative role dealing with organizational operations.I am grateful for the chance to have made a career of working alongside young people.My work is rooted heavily in the idea that in order to address the challenges of ourworld, young people require access to resources and opportunity. These have not beenequitably distributed when it comes to low income communities of color. The result hasbeen a growing condemnation of those least equipped and most affected. Throughoutmy work life, I have attempted to change this pattern. I appreciate the fact that I havebeen able to work with some great thinkers at organizations dedicated towards servingyoung people. Currently, I feel very fortunate to work in a facility that was built for
youth and their path of self-improvement.Ice Breakage: 1. What is a natural talent that you might not have, but you would like to be gifted with? The ability to play an instrument. 2. What sound or noise do you love? Hearing my daughter laugh out of pure joy is pretty good right now. 3. What sound or noise do you hate? Blatantly insincere conversation (not even the actual words, just the tone of them). 4. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Working with my hands as some sort of craftsman, provided I had any talent in that area. 5. If you could have a meal and a conversation with anyone, throughout history- who would it be and what would you eat? Either of my grandfathers (I wouldn’t be able to choose between them) as both of them passed before I was born. I think a nice meal of sashimi and rice, some miso soup, and an Ebisu or some unfiltered sake would be appropriate.
D’MarieyMATCH (Media Advocates Transforming Community Health) Project AssociateMy name is D’mariey Johnson I am 19 years old and I currently live in Oakland CA. Ijoined Youth Radio when I was a freshman in high school and I am currently in college inmy sophomore year.I consider myself highly self motivated, responsible, respectful, a leader, open mindedand very considerate. I demonstrate these skills through my independent work that Icomplete at Youth Radio. A lot goes on in my community and it’s easy to get distracted,but yet I maintain to stay on the right track and do right.When I first came to Youth Radio I didn’t really expect to learn half the skills andknowledge I picked up. I just saw Youth Radio as another youth center that would useup all my free time. I soon noticed that was all wrong. My first day of training felt “athome”, what I mean by this is I was really comfortable with the environment. Everyonewas respectful and polite.I graduated from Youth Radio’s beginning training program in 2006. I then went on tobecome a teacher as an intern in our outreach department. Working in the outreachdepartment was a pleasure and taught me a lot. In outreach we would go to differentsites and recruit youth for our program. We facilitated beneficial workshops throughoutour community that focus on daily issues in our community, like violence, and policebrutality and disproportionate incarceration.Currently, I am a Project Associate at Youth Radio and my role consists of teachingMedia Literacy, Radio Broadcasting, Graphic Design and music production to youthrecently released from incarceration and/or on probation. That means the students inthe program get to try a little bit of everything- software and computer skills, classdiscussion and reflection, research, writing, and on-air hosting.When I first started teaching I was nervous and really didn’t know what kind of reactionto expect from my peers. After teaching for a week I soon became very comfortable
and confident, even though it’s still hard sometimes to get students to see me as a classleader when we are all around the same age. But my co-workers and supervisors alwaysgive me advice and constructive feedback.This session, the MATCH project associates facilitated a media literacy workshop aboutmusic as a teaching tool. We showed the students a couple videos and ledconversations about the lyrics and what type of messages they contain. Sincecommercial sexual exploitation of young people is a big problem here in Oakland, one ofthe videos we chose to discuss was from Wale addressing this issue.This video helped start a conversation about pimp culture in music, but most importantit also led to a class discussion about empathy, and how we need to learn about thefactors which contribute to situations like this, instead of judging people.One of the most important things that keep me coming to Youth Radio is my peers andco-workers. There is a lot of love and care. I’ve never been a part of an atmospherewhere so many people care about your direction in life. I decided to be in this field ofwork because I feel that we need change in my community so why not be a part of thechange.Ice-breakage: 1. What is your favorite word? My favorite word is “Na.” 2. What is your least favorite word? My least favorite word is “Cat.” 3. What sound or noise do you love? I love the sound of waterfalls. 4. What sound or noise do you hate? I hate hearing little dogs bark. 5. Who is your favorite fictional character? My favorite fictional character is “Hey Arnold.” 6. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I wouldn’t mind to attempt to be a professional motorcycle rider. 7. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you like to go? I would want to visit Australia because I love animals and they have many exotic animals.
Ti’AraMobile Action Lab Project AssociateHello my name is Ti’Ara Williams; I currently live in Richmond, CA and I’m a student atSan Francisco State University. I am 19 years-old and I been a part of Youth Radio for 4years now. I consider myself open-minded, respectful, leader, great worker, self-motivated, and most importantly, determined.When I entered Youth Radio, I had to face all of my fears; interviewing people, meetingpeople, presenting, but most importantly finding out who I am as a person. But thiswork finally helped me find my passion! After completing the introductory trainings, Iwent to the Health Department. I realized it was something I wanted to do long termbecause it felt like a family working together and putting their ideas together to maketheir visions for the community come true. The internship consisted of working with mypeers to create a Teen Dating Violence Primary Prevention Campaign. This campaignfocused on preventing unhealthy/domestic violence relationships before they occur.Today in society, you see unhealthy relationships in your community, in the media,everywhere, but what we don’t see is society focusing on healthy relationships and howto build them. I think it was a good idea for this campaign to be created because in mycommunity and also in other communities you see lots of domestic violence. There areseveral of my friends and family members that experience domestic violence and Ididn’t know how to help them through the situation before.But health training is not only about helping people on an individual basis, it’s also aboutchanging the way we as a whole think about intimate partner violence. One of the wayswe try to spread this message is through our anti-teen dating violence website,www.bom411.com. BOM stands for Boss Of Me, because it’s about learningaccountability for your own actions as well as not trying to control your partner oranyone else but yourself. My daily responsibilities in the Health Department and BOMwere to write blogs for the website, and create and answer MyDrama, which are likedating advice questions about boundaries, risks, and healthy communication. We alsowrite and act in short videos to get youth started talking about common relationshipchallenges and how to deal with them. Here’s me in one about jealousy.Currently, I’m a Project Associate working for Youth Radio’s Mobile Action Lab, whichcreates applications to serve community needs. As we get more and more connectedthrough technology instead of face-to-face time, it is possible to get more isolated. But
in the Lab, we try to use technology to help people connect and make collaborations,whether it’s for collective art or for addressing serious issues like access to healthy foodin urban communities. You can see more about the App Lab here.What keeps me coming back to Youth Radio is not only the opportunities they offer butbecause of the family that we have become. When you walk into Youth Radio you feellike you’re at home. In my personal opinion, Youth Radio is one of the best things that’sgoing on in my life. There are many dreams that I want to turn into reality. In thebeginning I had a difficult time presenting in front of people but in due time it became ahabit and a fear that I overcame. Another thing that I found challenging was putting allof these different peoples’ ideas together to create one. There were several obstaclesin my work that I faced that I thought I was never going to overcome, but I faced eachand every one of them and that’s what makes me the person I am today.Ice Breakage: 1. What is your favorite word? My favorite word is childish. 2. What sound or noise do you hate? I think the one of the most irritating noises is hearing a cat constantly meow. 3. Who is your favorite fictional character? My favorite fictional characters are Phenias and Ferb because they make summer seem so fun. Everyday they are creating something new and fun to do and everyone in the neighborhood can participate. 4. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? One profession that I would love to attempt is fashion design. 5. If you could have a meal and a conversation with anyone, throughout history- who would it be and what would you eat? If I could have a meal and conversation with anyone, I think it would have to be Rosa Parks, and I think I would take her to BJ’s.
DerekPeer Teaching InternMy name is Derek Williams. I am 19 years-old and I currently live in Oakland, CA. Ijoined Youth Radio when I was sophomore in High School and I’m currently a seniorgetting ready to graduate.I completed six months of training at Youth Radio and graduated the advanced programwith a focus on journalism. I then went on to intern in the newsroom where I wrote aseries of web posts and commentaries that aired on local commercial and public outletslike KCBS and KQED. After six months of being a newsroom intern, I decided to joinYouth Radio’s Education Department as a journalism peer teacher, the position Icurrently hold. I teach students who are around my age how to write opinion piecesthat air weekly on Youth Radio Raw, our training focused on-line radio station, and liveon introductory class blog.I got into peer teaching at Youth Radio because I want to provide the same experiencefor incoming students that I had received when I first arrived. I want to show otheryoung people that they too can have a voice in this world and there is no better way todo that than to be a peer teacher.What keeps me coming back to Youth Radio is the atmosphere. As soon as I step footinto the building I immediately get that comfortable feeling of family. The staff and mypeers have demonstrated a passion for helping me grow professionally, and mostimportantly have helped me find my voice by providing me with the right media toolsand support. Youth Radio has been the only place where I feel encouraged each day.Staff members have allowed me to take on tasks that I sometimes questioned I couldcomplete, but with their trust and encouragement I always fulfilled what was needed ofme.I consider myself a leader and team player, someone who is outgoing, reliable, resilient,and who perseveres. I was tested in these areas when I lost my mother and sister eightmonths apart from each other. This was one of the most challenging moments in mylife, but with the help of my family and Youth Radio I was able to come out of thatexperience a stronger and more determined person.The following are links to some of my media assets completed at Youth Radio:
KQED: http://www.kqed.org/a/perspectives/R909100737KCBS: http://www.youthradio.org/news/becoming-a-nerdWeb Posts: http://www.youthradio.org/news/helping-teens-deal-with-grief http://www.youthradio.org/news/swine-flu-facts-teensThe piece I did for KQED was done five months after my mother’s death in 2009. It is astory that I am really proud of as it speaks to the type of relationship me and motherhad and how important she is to me. “Becoming-a-nerd” was my first radiocommentary it’s about my trials as a high school student branching out and doing thingsoutside the status quo. I am very proud of all my work but these two are my favorite.Ice Breakage: 1. What is your favorite word? My favorite word is “awesome.” It’s a great way to express emotions. 2. What is your least favorite word? My least favorite word is “nigger” and all the derivatives of the word. 3. What is a natural talent that you might not have, but you would like to be gifted with? I have always wished and prayed and still do for the ability to sing. 4. What is your favorite sound? I love the sound of rolling on the ground laughter. 5. What sound or noise do you hate? I hate the sound rocks scraping against each other.
BeliaMedia Education ManagerHi, my name is Belia Mayeno. I’m 30 years old, and I’m an educator, writer and producerat Youth Radio. Like many of our adult staff, I’m also a former YR student (Spring classof ’97.) At this point, I’ve been involved with Youth Radio for almost half my life, andI’ve stayed connected for a few reasons. First, this place looms large in my owndevelopment because it was the first educational institution I’d ever encountered whereI was encouraged to share my own stories and expertise. As I got older, it was throughleveraging my YR media production work that I was able to get broadcastingscholarships and pay for my college education. But perhaps most importantly, it wasthe first place I learned to really love youth development work and teaching.I come from a very diverse family background. I’m Xicana of Mexican Indian descent(Cora/P’urhepècha) third-generation Japanese-American & Russian Jewish (This is whatwe call “hella mixed” in Oakland-ese). Because my parents were teenagers when theyhad me, and one struggled with addiction, gang involvement and frequentincarceration, I grew up within an extended family network. This exposed me to avariety of experiences of class, citizenship, education, religion, race and culture, and Ilearned to be keenly aware of the ways that these factors can create or block access toresources and opportunities. My commitment to transforming these inequalities isexpressed is a few ways in my work with Youth Radio’s MATCH program. Since youalready know a little bit about Why & Where I do the work, let’s go cross-disciplinaryand incorporate more of the standard journalism format of Who, What, When and Howto dig a little deeper.First, it’s about When & Who we teach. At this time, there are more Black men in prisonthan were enslaved in 1850, and they make up 40.2 percent of the two millionincarcerated peoples in the US. Latino & Native/First Nations peoples are also hugelyover-represented in the criminal justice system and vastly under-represented ininstitutions of higher learning, so after-school job training and education become acritical intervention in the “school to prison” pipeline for poor/working-class youth and
youth of color. In MATCH, all the students are recently released from youthincarceration and are on probation. Second, it’s about What we teach. We use mediaas a hook to get young people in the door. They often come for music productiontraining and to hear themselves on the air. But then we flip it, and use these formats tosupport them in increasing their written and oral communication skills, as well as theircritical thinking skills about issues affecting their lives. Topics include the prisonindustrial complex, gender socialization, and how the dominant media has historicallyused negative imagery of people of color as a means to rationalize racism andcolonization.Finally, it’s about HOW we teach. We cannot support young people in self-empowerment and community engagement if we use alienating teaching methods. Ourwork in MATCH is influenced by the Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” whichholds that we are all simultaneously teachers AND students, and that we all have theright and responsibility to co-create our learning experiences together. In this way,young people take leadership roles and we all hold each other accountable whensomeone transgresses the group agreements. And although I do not often speakdirectly about this to students, I also bring my own perspective as a priest in the Afro-Cuban Lucumì faith to my work, because our tradition strongly emphasizes cascadingmentorship and inter-generational learning models.If you’d like to check out a more scholarly analysis of Youth Radio’s educational models,click here to read about “Drop That Knowledge,” written by our Senior Producer andResearch Director, Dr. Elisabeth Soep. And here’s a link to me and Dr. Soep discussingour media and youth development work on a San Francisco public radio show.Ice Breakage: 1. What is your favorite word? Kansha (The Japanese word for the experience of gratitude). 2. What is your least favorite word? Smug. 3. What is one talent that you might not have, but would like to be gifted with? I’d like to have a natural affinity for learning new languages. But this wish is tied with my other deep desire to learn how to play the accordion really well (Not a joke). 4. If you could have a meal and a conversation with anyone, throughout history- who would it be and what would you eat? Ceviche, tamales and tequila with Frida Kahlo, surrounded by all her pet monkeys and parrots.
5. Who is your favorite fictional character? Half of me says Omar from The Wire. The other half says Anne of Green Gables.