Amirah Al Idrus (Johns Hopkins University, class of 2013) interned with us this summer through The Center for Social Concern’s Community Impact Internships Program (CIIP) at Johns Hopkins University. As a Community Impact Intern, Amirah was an essential member in preparing for our 7th Annual Wide Angle Youth Media Festival and venturing into the Baltimore community with the festival’s traveling exhibition. We wish Amirah the best while she finishes her last year at Johns Hopkins!
The day I started at Wide Angle, I was thrown into a frenzy of activity. It was two days before the 7th Annual Wide Angle Youth Media Festival, and I felt like Dorothy in the tornado, whisked out of Kansas and unceremoniously dumped into a strange land named Oz.
On festival day, Lucy, Wide Angle’s Communication Intern, and I underwent a crash course in curating a photo exhibition. We decided which photos to hang next to each other and fashioned a tabletop exhibit in two hours. While preparing for the traveling exhibit to farmers’ markets, I learned the difference between how not to and how to mix concrete for the photo exhibition display. I talked to hundreds of people who came to see this exhibit and I was heartened by their interest and enthusiasm. I played games of teamwork and strategy with students, and I even learned how to record sound and video from some of Wide Angle’s capable and spirited youth producers.
I never could have expected to have so many different experiences during my internship. Many people view internships as a formality, a summer of suffering through fetching coffee and making photocopies so that in the future, we can all get the jobs we truly want. I discovered just how untrue this was at Wide Angle Youth Media. I met a team of staff who are incredibly dedicated to their mission and talented youth dedicated to sharing their stories. I have a hard time remembering everyone’s names and stories, but what I do remember is a group of proactive youth, who seize the opportunity to voice their thoughts, dreams, hopes and concerns about their lives in Baltimore.
Wide Angle Youth Media’s youth producers raise awareness about issues that are important to them through stunningly well-crafted films. They are truly inspiring. My eight weeks here have impacted, and will continue to impact, the way I choose to live my life. My experience has taught me that in Baltimore, someone is waiting to listen to what you have to say, but only if you make the decision to say it. As youth, we often find ourselves reluctant to act or speak out because we think that no one will care. Wide Angle Youth Media and its youth producers prove to me that this is no longer the case.