A busy (and productive!) YMG fall season, with more to come
By: Brie Zeltner
Busy, busy, busy. That’s been our fall season here at YMG, with concurrent programs at our two high school partners in Washington D.C. (Banneker High School) and Virginia (Annandale High School), a Canva social media bootcamp and our fall feature writing workshop on closing the racial wealth gap.
Oh, and our second — and even more successful — trip to Philadelphia to cover and present at the Sozosei Foundation Summit (check out Jayne’s letter for more on that!!)
Our high school class partners are working together on two stories that focus on youth mental health — one on how the return to in-person classes has increased stress for International Baccalaureate students, and another on family cultural differences in response to youth mental illness. We aim to get both published in the new year, so stay tuned to our social media to check them out. Each of the 15 Annandale High School journalism students has been assigned to do a graded story or two TikTok posts for us by mid-January.
Our fall workshop students, working with our fantastic mentor-editors Alan Gomez (formerly of USA TODAY) and Sarah Meehan (formerly of the Baltimore Sun) wrote about what’s being done to narrow the racial wealth gap. Their stories, which will be pitched to publishers in the coming weeks, include efforts in D.C. and Philadelphia to aid homeownership for Black families, Miami-area non-profit assistance to small business owners of color and a national nonprofit that helps eliminate medical debt.
In our Canva bootcamp in early November, eight new and returning students produced social media posts for Instagram, Facebook and TikTok about the decriminalization of mental illness which were then used to build up excitement for our Sozosei Summit coverage. YMG staffers Sophie Beney (our newly anointed Visuals Editor) and Pooja Singh, as well as intern Hermes Falcon, helped students grow their skills on the platform.
We also received some fantastic news this fall that will allow us to continue and expand programs like these to more students. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation renewed our funding for a second time — for 2.5 years! — and we got a generous new two-year grant from the EY Foundation.
We’re looking forward to an equally busy and rewarding winter programming season, with two Canva bootcamps and more small group work with our high school classes in D.C. and Virginia, as well as our TikTok creators. Our Canva workshop application is here (pass it on!) and we’ll accept students on a rolling basis for our next sessions in February.
But in the meantime, we hope you’ll join us in taking time to be a little less busy this month and to reflect on our accomplishments and hopes for the future. Wishing you all a happy holiday season!