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YMG Newsletter

Every quarter, Youthcast Media Group® publishes and shares their newsletter to nearly 900 readers, each publication featuring a letter from the CEO, a content and programs update and a feature story. 


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October 2023 publication

YMG alums find success in their careers, change their communities


YMG alumna Erin Burnett co-authored this story, which ran in USA Today, in 2018.

By Jayne O'Donnell


After four (!) decades in journalism, I know well the power of the personal story. My July 6, 1996 USA TODAY front page story showed rows of children’s smiling faces before “deadly air bags” ended their lives. That article and others I did with a colleague led to the safer air bags and warning labels now in every new car. Here at YMG, we have a lot of good news to tell you about our next generation of changemakers. But I acknowledge we haven’t told students’ stories enough to make the case for YMG - as college preparers, career trainers, voice uplifters and, yes, donation recipients.

YMG staff, interns grow with the organization

Seminar Photo

YMG intern Hermes Falcon speaks on a panel on 988 hosted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) held at Harris Stowe University.

By Brie Zeltner

YMG Intern Hermes Falcon, a junior at Bradley University, spoke on a prestigious panel last month at Harris Stowe University in Missouri at the invitation of federal officials with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The panel was part of SAMHSA’s 988 One-Year Anniversary Roadshow, about the impact of the mental health crisis hotline 988 on youth across the country.

YMG staffer Kyndall Hubbard, who joined the organization in January as an editorial assistant, was promoted to Assistant Editor this month.


Syracuse University sophomore Kymani Hughes, who was a summer writing intern with YMG this year, will continue her internship this fall.

June 2023 publication

Setting students, junior staff up for success requires flexible funding

Kathy Essig and camera

Kathryn Essig leads a college prep training session for YMG students during a video shoot.

By Jayne O'Donnell


When my 23-year-old daughter moved to a new school for 8th grade, her history teacher quickly recognized she likely had attention deficit disorder (ADD). That helped her get in-school help from a learning specialist and us to get recommendations for outside neuropsychological testing and executive function tutoring.


It changed her life.

Now, our virtual organization’s college interns and junior staff are getting the professional version of that tutoring, with the same specialist who put my child on her well-organized path a decade ago. Kathryn Essig of Northern Virginia-based Essig Education Group is helping set these young people up for success with the prioritization and organization skills they need for YMG, future jobs and college.

YMG students love learning journalism– even in the summer!

Class Photo

YMG staff Jayne O'Donnell (CEO and founder), Kyndall Hubbard (Editorial Assistant) and Courtney Curtis (Media Intern) at Banneker High School with the newspaper club.

By Brie Zeltner

Summer is officially underway, and we’re busier than ever at YMG. You may think that teenagers just want to turn off their brains after a busy school year, but we’re working with two dozen who just want to keep going, learning and discovering more about journalism and their communities.

This week marks the end of our third “Journalism 101” Introduction to News Writing boot camps, and we’ve been working with students in Philadelphia, Hartford, Connecticut, D.C. and Baltimore as they write news briefs about how the 988 hotline and climate change are impacting their communities, and youth in particular. Our Philadelphia team, with five students from three different high schools (two new to our programs!) are out and about, as I write this, interviewing their peers about 988, the mental health alternative to 911, and whether they would be comfortable using it.

Meet our high school participants-turned-summer-interns!

kymani headshot

Headshot of Kymani Hughes (courtesy of Kymani).

By Hermes Falcon

Youthcast Media Group® welcomes back Kymani Hughes and Courtney Curtis, former students at YMG who participated in our training and wrote articles during and after high school before joining our staff this summer. Kymani is a rising sophomore at Syracuse University with a major in applied data analytics, and is working as a print intern on health-related articles, while creating TikToks and contributing to YMG’s other social media.

Courtney is a 2021 graduate of Bard High School Early College DC where she left with an Associates of Arts degree and high school diploma simultaneously. Courtney is YMG’s new social media intern, and will be working on a diverse set of tasks ranging from graphics to photography and video production.


Kymani (pronounced key-mah-knee) and Courtney sat down with YMG intern Hermes Falcon and spoke about themselves, their interest in journalism and what led them to YMG.

March 2023 publication

Graphics, social media as a gateway to college and career? It’s 🔥

Celine Photo

By Jayne O'Donnell

While other teens were traveling or catching up on sleep, Carnellia “Celine” Daniels spent her February break with YMG and me learning to use graphics to create factual, engaging posts for social media including TikTok — yes, TikTok — and Instagram.


The Hartford, Connecticut high school sophomore and several of her classmates were also learning about affordable housing, criminal justice and mental illness as they mastered grammatical captions, pithy pull quotes and the best visuals to draw attention to their posts.

If you’re one of those who scoff at social media, I assure you your cynicism is misplaced here. Whether or not TikTok survives all the real and threatened U.S. bans, the writing (yes, writing!), design and analytical skills we’re teaching teens will live on long after the platform’s successor (or the one after that).

Carnellia "Celine" Daniels and her classmates at Weaver High School in Hartford worked with YMG to make interactive and engaging social media posts.

Graphics, social media as a gateway to college and career? It’s 🔥

Class Photo

Jayne O'Donnell visits ReadyCT students.

By Brie Zeltner

Spring is a time of growth and change, and as an avid gardener, it’s my favorite time of year. While there’s still a month or more before us northern Ohio folks can get out and start planting (sigh!), there’s plenty to keep me busy– and excited!-- at YMG.


We wrapped up a successful fall workshop with two outstanding solutions-based stories about how communities are closing the racial wealth gap. The first, about efforts in Philadelphia, was published in Billy Penn in February. Shortly after it came out, the non-profit featured, birdSEED, told us that they’d received applicants for their down payment assistance grants who heard about the program from our students’ story. Amazing.

Kyndall Headshot

Meet Kyndall Hubbard, Mizzou alum, filmmaker, and YMG’s new Editorial Assistant!

By Hermes Falcon

Kyndall Hubbard, 23, joined the Youthcast Media Group® team at the end of February as our Editorial Assistant, reporting to Brie Zeltner on the Content & Programs team. A recent grad of the journalism program at University of Missouri (Mizzou) with an emphasis on documentary filmmaking and a double minor in Spanish and Black Studies, she will be writing stories, shooting video and helping work with our high school student writers.


Kyndall (pronounced Ken-dall), spoke with YMG Intern Hermes Falcon about her interests and background as well as her hopes and plans for the future. Their conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Headshot of Kyndall Hubbard (courtesy of Hubbard).

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