Youth Journalism International is working to expand the art of writing to many more youth located all over the world. Please join me in “liking” this group on Facebook and share with your friends, tweet it on Twitter, and consider donating to sustain this amazing project!
Help teens from around the world discover their voice, share their stories, build bridges across borders and develop lasting friendships with peers on five continents. Youth Journalism International provides teens with training, mentoring and group sessions to investigate, write, edit and publish stories for the world to see. With an online news blog, annual global media award contest and more, YJI ensures young journalists get the encouragement and recognition they deserve.
What is the issue, problem, or challenge?
There are young people all over the world who have meaningful things to say and ideas to exchange, but who lack the self-confidence, the communication skills, or the platform they need to make their voices heard. Worldwide, ignorance of different cultures leads to fear, mistrust, and aggression. To ensure a peaceful future, we need a way for the world’s youth to realize their potential to speak out and to learn from their peers around the globe.
How will this project solve this problem?
Through its journalism training, YJI helps young people gain the writing skills and confidence they need to express themselves. Its online presence – including a website, blog, Facebook page – and collaboration with other media provides students with both a platform to present their ideas, and a worldwide audience for their work. As they read each other’s work, collaborate on group projects, and communicate in person and online, students make meaningful connections with peers across the world.
Potential Long Term Impact
By giving hundreds of students the chance to be published and work with peers across the globe, Youth Journalism International develops in them a keener appreciation for the world we share and the many links that bind us together. It provides them with the confidence to pursue their dreams. Many have gone on to become lawyers, doctors, teachers and journalists. They make a difference. YJI highlights the concerns of young people for thousands of readers and points the way to a brighter tomorrow.
You can read what I wrote previously about Youth Journalism International here. And the story below is my experience working with them as a teenager.
In the summer of 1999 I was a 16-year-old girl who had always been passionate about writing, but had yet to be offered any mentoring or even real encouragement to hone my craft. I was presented with the opportunity to write an article for a newspaper by the Tattoo.
It was a small, insignificant article to say the least. However, I remember it being a tortured process as I wrote it and was asked to edit the piece again and again by Jackie and Steve. By the time they were happy with the final result I was sorry I had agreed to write it in the first place.
That didn’t dampen my excitement when the newspaper arrived with my article printed inside. It was something so small, yet so important to me, the final draft was something I was truly proud to have my name as the byline. I realized that Jackie and Steve hadn’t expected and demanded excellence from this small article for themselves, but rather so when the final product came out it was something I could be proud of.
To think back on the kindness of Steve and Jackie to my 16-year-old self is incredible. They had front page articles each day and yet they had cared enough about my tiny article to spend hours of kindness, patience, and in the end even insistence to counsel me until I was able to finish.
That summer was a pivotal one in my life, not only because I got to see my name in print for the first time or even get to work with two extremely talented journalists but also because through Youth Journalism International I was able to meet other teens who were excited about writing.
My article may seem like a small thing to some, but it gave me the tools to learn how to be a different, more mature writer. No longer did my stories start with once upon a time and I would not dare close with the end. It was an important part of molding me into a student that not only was able to produce academic papers throughout high school, college, and even when I wrote my thesis for my Master’s Degree but also allowed me to be the kind of teacher who put great emphasis on the importance of expressing oneself through written word. I have since also started my own personal blog that people all over the world read. Writing is a daily activity for me, one that makes me impatient to sit down at my computer and to this day gives me joy. I have Youth Journalism International to thank for pointing me in the right direction.
It was a very small article, but it lit the fire in me to be a writer that burn to this day. Seeing my words, my name in print made me feel like a real writer of real value and the fact that 2 seasoned reporters cared what I had to say, it meant the world.
Since then I have been a fan of the amazing work of Youth Journalism International and the endless dedication and guidance Jackie and Steve offer to budding writers. I felt the devastation of Katrina through Jessica Perez’s eyes and felt tremendous hope as I read Jessica Elsayed’s words about the revolution in Egypt. Youth Journalism International is a daily read for me and I have stayed in contact with the organization, participants, and founders for the past 12 years and will continue to for decades to come. It is amazing work to give the youth a voice all over the world and I have been able to see and experience so many perspectives from reading Youth Journalism International each day. It has, is, and always will be a favorite part of my day!