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Youth Radio Founded in 1992, Youth Radios mission is to promote young peoples intellectual, creative, and professional growth through training and access to media and to produce the highest quality original media for local and national outlets. At the heart of Youth Radio’s pioneering effort is a youth development practice that combines training in journalism 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 to increase the number of young people it serves, and design a center specifically focused on training participants utilizing cutting-‐edge technology. Currently Youth Radio houses 3 media training classes for 14-‐18 year old high school students. Participants who complete 6-‐months of Youth Radio training are eligible for paid on-‐site internships while in high school, and part-‐time associate level positions until the age of 24. In recent years, this workforce component of our programming has increased to meet the needs of 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 are ultimately most effective when coupled with wraparound support services. Thus, Youth Radio shifted from our original pure media education focus to a more holistic education meets wellness model. Academic and career advising, mental health services and individual case management are now integral elements of our youth work. The most recent step in our institutional evolution is the addition of youth-‐led public health advocacy programming. Using new social media platforms as well as in-‐person outreach and workshop training, Youth Radio interns engage and educate their communities on a variety of public health issues. These issues include teen dating violence, safer sex and STI prevention, food access and equity, and the commercial sexual exploitation of minors. But let’s pull back from the bigger picture and get into what the work looks like on the ground across the various programs. We’ve invited all of the staff and youth team members who will be attending the ECE conference to share a little bit about themselves and their work. And of course, since we are all “non-‐profitty,” there are Icebreaker questions!
Meet the Team Erik Director of Administration My name is Erik Sakamoto and I am a fourth generation Japanese-‐American with family roots in Honolulu, Hawaii (mother) and Oakland, California (father). I grew up in a few parts of the Bay Area, and attended high school in San Mateo (an area about 20 minutes south of San Francisco). After college in Southern California, I moved to my grandmother’s home in Oakland (a sort of tradition for males on my pops side), and have lived in the city ever since. It’s where I’ve decided to commit myself: as a community 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 of community based non-‐profits and education in Oakland. I was originally hired to coordinate a new class that focused on Oakland’s young people (while Youth Radio was still based out of Berkeley) who were deemed ‘hardest to serve’ due to their lack of engagement with school and their history of contact with the justice system. At the time, the position seemed designed for my interest and experience in Oakland youth work, media literacy and technical skill training, and prevention/intervention. As an aside, it is a source of some measure of pride that two of my ECE teammates carry on the work (having enhanced it tremendously) of this program. Eventually, I came to lead Youth Radio’s Youth Development and Training programs, and recently moved into a primarily 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 our world, young people require access to resources and opportunity. These have not been equitably distributed when it comes to low income communities of color. The result has been a growing condemnation of those least equipped and most affected. Throughout my work life, I have attempted to change this pattern. I appreciate the fact that I have been able to work with some great thinkers at organizations dedicated towards serving
young 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’Mariey MATCH (Media Advocates Transforming Community Health) Project Associate My name is D’mariey Johnson I am 19 years old and I currently live in Oakland CA. I joined Youth Radio when I was a freshman in high school and I am currently in college in my sophomore year. I consider myself highly self motivated, responsible, respectful, a leader, open minded and very considerate. I demonstrate these skills through my independent work that I complete 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 and knowledge I picked up. I just saw Youth Radio as another youth center that would use up all my free time. I soon noticed that was all wrong. My first day of training felt “at home”, what I mean by this is I was really comfortable with the environment. Everyone was respectful and polite. I graduated from Youth Radio’s beginning training program in 2006. I then went on to become a teacher as an intern in our outreach department. Working in the outreach department was a pleasure and taught me a lot. In outreach we would go to different sites and recruit youth for our program. We facilitated beneficial workshops throughout our community that focus on daily issues in our community, like violence, and police brutality and disproportionate incarceration. Currently, I am a Project Associate at Youth Radio and my role consists of teaching Media Literacy, Radio Broadcasting, Graphic Design and music production to youth recently released from incarceration and/or on probation. That means the students in the program get to try a little bit of everything-‐ software and computer skills, class discussion and reflection, research, writing, and on-‐air hosting. When I first started teaching I was nervous and really didn’t know what kind of reaction to 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 class leader when we are all around the same age. But my co-‐workers and supervisors always give me advice and constructive feedback. This session, the MATCH project associates facilitated a media literacy workshop about music as a teaching tool. We showed the students a couple videos and led conversations about the lyrics and what type of messages they contain. Since commercial sexual exploitation of young people is a big problem here in Oakland, one of the videos we chose to discuss was from Wale addressing this issue. This video helped start a conversation about pimp culture in music, but most important it also led to a class discussion about empathy, and how we need to learn about the factors 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 and co-‐workers. There is a lot of love and care. I’ve never been a part of an atmosphere where so many people care about your direction in life. I decided to be in this field of work because I feel that we need change in my community so why not be a part of the change. 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’Ara Mobile Action Lab Project Associate Hello my name is Ti’Ara Williams; I currently live in Richmond, CA and I’m a student at San Francisco State University. I am 19 years-‐old and I been a part of Youth Radio for 4 years 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, meeting people, presenting, but most importantly finding out who I am as a person. But this work finally helped me find my passion! After completing the introductory trainings, I went to the Health Department. I realized it was something I wanted to do long term because it felt like a family working together and putting their ideas together to make their visions for the community come true. The internship consisted of working with my peers to create a Teen Dating Violence Primary Prevention Campaign. This campaign focused 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 how to build them. I think it was a good idea for this campaign to be created because in my community and also in other communities you see lots of domestic violence. There are several of my friends and family members that experience domestic violence and I didn’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 about changing the way we as a whole think about intimate partner violence. One of the ways we 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 learning accountability for your own actions as well as not trying to control your partner or anyone else but yourself. My daily responsibilities in the Health Department and BOM were to write blogs for the website, and create and answer MyDrama, which are like dating advice questions about boundaries, risks, and healthy communication. We also write and act in short videos to get youth started talking about common relationship challenges 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, which creates applications to serve community needs. As we get more and more connected through 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 food in 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 but because of the family that we have become. When you walk into Youth Radio you feel like you’re at home. In my personal opinion, Youth Radio is one of the best things that’s going on in my life. There are many dreams that I want to turn into reality. In the beginning I had a difficult time presenting in front of people but in due time it became a habit and a fear that I overcame. Another thing that I found challenging was putting all of these different peoples’ ideas together to create one. There were several obstacles in my work that I faced that I thought I was never going to overcome, but I faced each and 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.
Derek Peer Teaching Intern My name is Derek Williams. I am 19 years-‐old and I currently live in Oakland, CA. I joined Youth Radio when I was sophomore in High School and I’m currently a senior getting ready to graduate. I completed six months of training at Youth Radio and graduated the advanced program with a focus on journalism. I then went on to intern in the newsroom where I wrote a series of web posts and commentaries that aired on local commercial and public outlets like KCBS and KQED. After six months of being a newsroom intern, I decided to join Youth Radio’s Education Department as a journalism peer teacher, the position I currently hold. I teach students who are around my age how to write opinion pieces that air weekly on Youth Radio Raw, our training focused on-‐line radio station, and live on introductory class blog. I got into peer teaching at Youth Radio because I want to provide the same experience for incoming students that I had received when I first arrived. I want to show other young people that they too can have a voice in this world and there is no better way to do that than to be a peer teacher. What keeps me coming back to Youth Radio is the atmosphere. As soon as I step foot into the building I immediately get that comfortable feeling of family. The staff and my peers have demonstrated a passion for helping me grow professionally, and most importantly have helped me find my voice by providing me with the right media tools and 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 could complete, but with their trust and encouragement I always fulfilled what was needed of me. 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 eight months apart from each other. This was one of the most challenging moments in my life, but with the help of my family and Youth Radio I was able to come out of that experience 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/R909100737 KCBS: http://www.youthradio.org/news/becoming-‐a-‐nerd Web Posts: http://www.youthradio.org/news/helping-‐teens-‐deal-‐with-‐grief http://www.youthradio.org/news/swine-‐flu-‐facts-‐teens The piece I did for KQED was done five months after my mother’s death in 2009. It is a story that I am really proud of as it speaks to the type of relationship me and mother had and how important she is to me. “Becoming-‐a-‐nerd” was my first radio commentary it’s about my trials as a high school student branching out and doing things outside 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.
Belia Media Education Manager Hi, my name is Belia Mayeno. I’m 30 years old, and I’m an educator, writer and producer at Youth Radio. Like many of our adult staff, I’m also a former YR student (Spring class of ’97.) At this point, I’ve been involved with Youth Radio for almost half my life, and I’ve stayed connected for a few reasons. First, this place looms large in my own development because it was the first educational institution I’d ever encountered where I was encouraged to share my own stories and expertise. As I got older, it was through leveraging my YR media production work that I was able to get broadcasting scholarships and pay for my college education. But perhaps most importantly, it was the 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 what we call “hella mixed” in Oakland-‐ese). Because my parents were teenagers when they had me, and one struggled with addiction, gang involvement and frequent incarceration, I grew up within an extended family network. This exposed me to a variety of experiences of class, citizenship, education, religion, race and culture, and I learned to be keenly aware of the ways that these factors can create or block access to resources and opportunities. My commitment to transforming these inequalities is expressed is a few ways in my work with Youth Radio’s MATCH program. Since you already know a little bit about Why & Where I do the work, let’s go cross-‐disciplinary and incorporate more of the standard journalism format of Who, What, When and How to dig a little deeper. First, it’s about When & Who we teach. At this time, there are more Black men in prison than were enslaved in 1850, and they make up 40.2 percent of the two million incarcerated peoples in the US. Latino & Native/First Nations peoples are also hugely over-‐represented in the criminal justice system and vastly under-‐represented in institutions of higher learning, so after-‐school job training and education become a critical 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 youth incarceration and are on probation. Second, it’s about What we teach. We use media as a hook to get young people in the door. They often come for music production training and to hear themselves on the air. But then we flip it, and use these formats to support them in increasing their written and oral communication skills, as well as their critical thinking skills about issues affecting their lives. Topics include the prison industrial complex, gender socialization, and how the dominant media has historically used negative imagery of people of color as a means to rationalize racism and colonization. Finally, it’s about HOW we teach. We cannot support young people in self-‐empowerment and community engagement if we use alienating teaching methods. Our work in MATCH is influenced by the Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” which holds that we are all simultaneously teachers AND students, and that we all have the right and responsibility to co-‐create our learning experiences together. In this way, young people take leadership roles and we all hold each other accountable when someone transgresses the group agreements. And although I do not often speak directly 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 cascading mentorship 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 and Research Director, Dr. Elisabeth Soep. And here’s a link to me and Dr. Soep discussing our 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.