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Expanding our programs and deepening our relationships with students

By Brie Zeltner

Hiyan Daniels didn’t have any journalism experience when they joined YMG’s journalism boot camp last summer. Since then, the sophomore from Philadelphia High School for Girls has been published twice by Philadelphia’s NPR affiliate, Billy Penn, and has created nine videos on mental health topics for YMG’s TikTok account. 

Hiyan, now in their second feature writing workshop, is writing about access to college prep resources at high schools in their community along with 13 other students from Philadelphia, Miami, Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia. They’ve interviewed nonprofit leaders and city officials and surveyed and interviewed dozens of their peers to get their insight into transportation issues, school resources and knowledge of mental health crisis resources. 

A screenshot of a Zoom meeting with 17 participants, all but one having their camera on.
Students attending the Canva YMG bootcamp where they're learning how to use social media for news.

While being a part of YMG I have learned how to report and write, structure, format, do interviews… as well as about health disparities and how equal opportunity of help is hard to find in some communities and how that affects the people of those communities, especially mine,” said Hiyan. 

Hiyan is one of 40 YMG students who have completed more than one program with us and one of a growing number of “super users” who have come back for more than two – a testament to the impact, relevance and quality of our programs.

“I keep coming back for more YMG classes simply because I’ve found a passion for journalism,” said Hiyan. “I just joined the first program out of interest and I’ve learned and accomplished so much since then.”

And students like Hiyan are one of the reasons we’re always looking for a chance to innovate and offer new and exciting program options to our students. This winter, we piloted a class introducing CapCut, the free, user-friendly video-editing platform. In May, we’ll offer our first full-fledged CapCut class to a group of 12-15 students.

In the class, which will be taught by mentor-editor Petruce Jean-Charles, students will learn to create accurate, grammatical and engaging social media posts about health and safety that meet journalistic standards. Their work will become part of a toolkit put together by one of our funders, the Governors Highway Safety Association, to help educate people– particularly youth– about the dangers of distracted driving. 

The students who join that class will be a mixture of familiar and new faces, who we can’t wait to meet or welcome back! 


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