By Kristina Domitrovich
This week at MPB's partner, Youth Media Project, the students dove into their group projects. Last week, each group brainstormed angles for each of their projects, and all of their projects are revolving around the idea of community engagement through solutions journalism. There is a dire need for new, local, original content created by students, and the goal is that these student projects elevate community-identified issues. This work is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting through the American Graduate: Getting To Work initiative.
A key principle of the summer project is to connect teens with working professional mentors in a space with updated, relevant technology that drives multimedia storytelling. MPB staff, along with YMP trainers, create a hands-on learning environment that sets a culture of high expectations and respect for each teen's intelligence, ideas, and experiences. Students create solutions-based content that drives multimedia projects about relevant community issues. Through creative community engagement, students construct narratives that shift the perception of young people in central Mississippi.
Each group has already began videotaping interviews and working on the scores and video for their documentaries.
Group 1 is focusing on innovative education models by specifically comparing educational opportunities offered to students in the Jackson Public School system versus those offered to students in neighboring districts. They are doing this by investigating a student's ability to perform within their schools based on the districts they are in while considering the interaction of resources, facilities, structure, curriculum, and opportunity.
Group 2 is pinpointing the ways in which mental health barriers are often looked over, particularly in Jackson communities. The struggles faced through mental illnesses and trauma and the barriers to young people are a few of the topics this group is delving into.
Group 3 is brainstorming issues facing a students' ability to learn by honing in on the effects and issues of violence on school safety. They are interviewing directors of mentorship programs, school safety officers, school administrators and peers as they seek to learn more about how school safety affects the learning environment.
Group 4 is targeting opportunities for career pathways for young people, specifically how to connect young job seekers to networks that provide early work experiences. They are highlighting career development centers and investigating which formats work, which ones don't, and how they can be improved.
Group 5 is investigating issues affecting young women and their safety. They are highlighting mentorship programs for young women and also barriers to young women being given opportunities, including the personal safety of young women.
28 students from thirteen schools in central Mississippi meet on the 13th floor of the Capital Towers building in downtown Jackson. YMP offers blended student learning and engagement using creative instructional tools, such as the visual and media arts including writing, photography, videography, podcasting, web design, and music production. These disciplines are used as a tool to engage students in experiential learning to develop professional, entrepreneurial and leadership skills, like critical thinking, collaboration, positive communication, decision-making, project management and completion, and problem solving.