From the Mouth of the Youth

There has been a lot of media around the Southside Stars Youth Zone the past week. The thing we are most excited about though, is that our youth took an active part in the interviews! This is the first time they have had the opportunity to play a larger role in the media capacity. Yet, who better than them to talk about the program. After-all it is their work, their ideas, their needs, and their goals that shape it.

That is what I think truly sets us apart from others. Our youth take an active role in the SSYZ development. While we facilitate and walk with them, they explore what learning can look like for them, designing what their space should look and feel like, deciding what they want to learn next and how to tackle real life problems together.

Youth have a wonderful perspective and creative ideas on how to approach challenges both personal and worldly. All they need is a platform to build upon, support/ guidance, and for the adults to listen with an open mind. That is what our Youth Zone gives them. We encourage them to take ownership of it, try new things and never think about failure. The word failure doesn’t even exist in the SSYZ. Failure is when we stop trying, everything else is just a learning experience.

Sometimes adults think they have all the answers and know what the kids need. We have to stop that kind of thinking. No one knows better of what they need then themselves. They need to feel like what they are doing matters and that their voice matters. This is how we really engage the youth and help them create change, both within themselves and in their community.

We have learned a lot over the past year and we are just getting started!

The youth were so excited to see themselves on tv it got us thinking. Perhaps they might be interested in exploring podcasting, internet show creation, or journalism. We’ll see what they think and want to try, so stay tuned!

In case you missed it, below are the various news pieces with the youth:

About the author: Lisa Barnett