Youth Media Institute Programs
YMI achieves our goals by connecting with young people through digital arts and media training to empower youth to create projects that validate their identities, their cultures, and their experiences. YMI students are trained in video and audio production techniques, digital photography, editing software, print media and more. In learning these technical skills, youth not only have the opportunity to express themselves using digital arts, but are able to address issues that affect their communities and develop marketable job skills in the process. Below are descriptions of three of our programs:
Youth Out Loud Summer Program – The Youth Out Loud summer program is an intensive training that exposes young people to a variety of media and communication issues and technologies. The youth cover complex themes, such as media democracy and media justice, which offer participants perspective about why their voices are so important. They also develop technical skills in the various forms of media studied—including Photoshop; camera techniques and video editing software; and technologies in community media, including radio and television.
Fee-For-Service – Outside organizations and businesses regularly contract with YMI for our youth to produce various media for them, including: promotional videos, digital photography and graphic design work. YMI employs youth media makers who have demonstrated a particular level of dedication and technological proficiency to work on these contracts. This program serves as an employment opportunity for our youth.
Youth Summits – YMI regularly takes on special projects throughout the year. One such project is a 100-150-youth summit that will take place in White Center in March of 2009. The purpose of this summit is to facilitate a conversation with young people to find out what their priorities are for community development in the area.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
The Youth Media Institute was created in an effort to mitigate the apparent dearth of social services and programs available to middle school and high school aged youth in the White Cener neighborhood - one of the most ethnically diverse in the state of Washington. It began as a six-week summer training program as part of a pilot project. Like many low-income communities of color, White Center suffers from the “digital divide,” and as a result, young people lose out on crucial opportunities as we move into an increasingly digital world. Of children under 18 years of age, 26% live below the poverty line and 22% of the total population does not have a high school degree. High school dropout rates reach as high as 73% in schools, with a 23% dropout rate for the district, while those that stay in school quickly become disengaged due to lack of support.
In the face of these obstacles, YMI has now offered over five years of programming, having directly served over 350 youth, while indirectly touching thousands through youth-led radio and video pieces. YMI has become an essential resource for many young people throughout South and West Seattle. Our most recent success focuses on YMI youth Huyen Nguyen and Linh La who created a short film with the support Adobe Youth Voice. Based upon the Department of Education's Youth Listening Tour, Nguyen and La made a video based on the interviews they conducted of the area's youth exploring reasons for going to college as well as the specific barriers in accessing higher education. As a result, they were invited to present their work in Washington D.C where they shared the unique experiences of many young people in Seattle who struggle to attain a higher education.
You can view their video at:
To know more about how Youth Media Institute has helped youth, check out this video: