Youth Speak Out!
Founded in 2010, the Youth Speak Out! program is operated out of our partner organizations’ sites – primarily in partnership with Baltimore City Public Schools. In 2011, 60 youth received training in various media including animation, photo comics, short documentaries, and photographic self-portraits.
Students in the YSO program will explore a variety of media production techniques with an emphasis on small group projects, youth voice, and group decision-making. Youth will be exposed to video editing, photography, and audio production, thereby increasing their media literacy and digital media skill set. This program is facilitated by two instructors and two peer mentors (ages 14-18).
YSO provides project-based learning during the summer, and matches guidelines for BCPS summer programs by working in partnership with the comprehensive City Schools’ Summer Learning Program. In this format, YSO classes occupy 2 hours of a 6-hour day of summer programming. This program can also be adapted to fit into your after-school or in-school environment as a flexible and scalable introductory media skill-building program.
The YSO program teaches youth to think critically about their communities, and about their place in the world. Students will discuss community issues that impact them, and will work together to choose a single issue on which to direct their focus; past issues have included gang activity and bullying. Students will investigate their issue of choice from multiple perspectives, and will work as a team to develop a media project that expresses these perspectives. This short project may be of any genre. We intentionally leave the topic choice and final project format open-ended, so that young people have true decision-making power. Because of the program’s significant investment of time in community engagement, students are eligible to earn service learning hours.
Engaging with community issues is an empowering process. One student reflected, “If we make one person see what we see, that (something) is wrong, maybe they can help change it.”
“I know the youth got a lot out of the program because even I learned many new things. When I was with my students in the Video Class, I felt like I was in a college course!”
- Mrs. Jones, BCPS teacher