Roxbury Dorchester Mattapan Youth Media Network | City of Ideas

Posted 12/01/2012 by Collaborate Boston Application

Issue to be Addressed:
Our black and brown boys need opportunities to learn new skills, receive support, participate in decision-making and contribute to strengthening their communities. Youth-generated community-based digital projects can be a significant catalyst to reinforce self-determination, drive and reliability.

CREATING POSITIVE DIGITAL IMAGES: Among teens 12+, 57% use social networks to share with others, post inappropriate personal information, engage in activities that increase their vulnerability to on-line predators or adversely impact their career advancement opportunities.  As boys aged 9-11 years old display risky behaviors, their actions reinforce the critical need for a citywide Youth Media Network.  Through digital forums, 9-15 year old boys create imagery focusing on life-affirming personal/professional development.

GAINING ENHANCED DIGITAL SKILLS:  We must change the fact that too few of our boys are going into careers in STEM. We know they are enthusiastic digital media consumers, but they must be creators and producers of digital media, too!

FINDING POSITIVE DIGITAL VOICE: We must replace the negative imagery relentlessly bombarding our youth. An untapped wealth of creative talents exists today among them that can be harnessed into a powerful force to guide and connect the next generation.  We need to showcase their growing abilities through a Youth Media Network.

Project Proposed:
YMN is a multi-staged pathway that continuously trains/connects our boys and young men aged 9-15. They develop their voice, become digitally savvy and share their knowledge/skills with younger boys via computer programming animation/games and media projects, while continuously working to strengthen their STEM skills.

CREATIVE COMPUTING TEAM: Boys 9-15 from Partner sites develop computer-programming skills to create animations and games on YMN themes. They learn the design engineering process and develop computational thinking through the use of MIT Media Lab’s Scratch environment. They teach sessions that share their enrichment projects with younger boys at Partner sites.

YOUTH MEDIA PRODUCTION TEAM (YMPT) Young men aged 14-15, recruited from target communities/Partner sites, attend a TV/Field Production training program.  They develop storytelling skills; basic field production skills including scriptwriting, lighting, composition, basic camera/audio operation, plus hosting and interviewing techniques; and digital editing skills. Their content (to be streamed on Cable-TV, YouTube/Vimeo, and Smartphones) shares positive images and accomplishments, as well as concerns and questions, of boys and young men in our communities. They will also create a documentary on the Creative Computing Team.

PROJECT SHOWCASE: The two Teams plan celebration events together to share their completed projects with the communities.

Role of Collaboration:
LEAD ORGANIZATION, Statewide Black Clergy for Unity, Inc., is responsible for all phases of project management/evaluation;

COMMUNITY TRAINING PROVIDERS are:  1) Boston Neighborhood Network is responsible for studio and field production training programs, onsite youth supervision plus administering production and field certification assessments; 2) South End Technology Center Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn program is responsible for animation production and related media literacy training programs;

ROXBURY, DORCHESTER, MATTAPAN COMMUNITY PARTNER SITES are: BCYF’s Gallivan, Shelburne and Vine Street Community Centers, and YMCAs in Egleston and Dorchester. Partners recruit program participants, coordinate support member services, provide space and computers.


BCYF LOCATIONS: Minimum of 40 black+brown boys/young men (9-15) will participate in developing group+ individual animation projects at 3 Centers. Also Teams teach 80 boys (ages 7-15) using their educational animation/games projects on YMN themes.

YMCA –DORCHESTER AND EGLESTON: Minimum of 25 black and brown boys/ young men (9-15) will participate in developing group/ individual animation projects. Also Teams teach 50 boys (ages 7-15) using their educational animation/games projects on YMN themes.

PROJECT SHOWCASE EVENTS: Each Partner site will hold a Project Showcase Event to share animations, games and media projects created by YMN youth.  The YMN Team will film each event as part of their Field Production class.  This footage will be used in media projects that continue beyond the summer. Anticipate 40-50 community participants per Project Showcase.
YOUTH MEDIA TEAM PROJECT REACH impacts 564 boys and young men.  At least 550 boys from BCYF+YMCA sites across Boston will view Project Showcase events + want to be part of YMN. In addition to these numbers, many parents and community members will be able to access YMN projects online and through BNN-TV.

Other information:
This RDM-YMN request jumpstarts the Statewide Black Clergy for Unity’s long-planned and critical networking initiative to give black and brown boys/young men opportunities to learn from each other and to connect to a network of support services, programs, resources and role models that advance their efforts to reach full personal and professional potential.  Through RDM-YMN, we will begin to provide memorable visual evidence that boys “just like them” are creative thinkers and achievers, planners and implementers of amazing and wonderful accomplishments. 

YMN’s long-term goal is to connect black and brown boys (plus their families and community) through media, to an extensive network of large and small youth-serving organizations, services and programs. An extensive multi-year curriculum has been created to support this effort. Grant proposals being submitted elsewhere will extend the project beyond the summer. Our goal is to have youth create, host and produce a regularly scheduled, continuing Community Cable-TV and Radio series that features the accomplishments of our youth and highlights youth-serving organizations.  They will also make their TV and radio episodes, the Creative Computing Team animation and game projects, as well as future projects, available for streaming online at our own dedicated website.

Primary Contact:
Statewide Black Clergy, Inc. (SWBC) is a 501 3 organization, located in Boston but serving community youth throughout Massachusetts. A core part of the SWBC mission strategy includes the creation of programs and services designed to: help youth to effectively use past experiences to inform and guide their decision-making or responses to negative or threatening situations; engage, challenge and guide youth through their exploration of science, technology engineering, human services, education, media/art as well as other evolving career pathways; and, provide short- and long-term opportunities for youth to share their knowledge through community-based  individual and group projects.

Partner 1:
The South End Technology Center @ Tent City is a 501(c)(3) Timothy Smith Computer Learning and Education Center founded in 1997 in collaboration with the Tent City Corporation and MIT. Their aim is to facilitate the use of technology in ways that encourage people to become innovators and producers, to tell their stories, and to learn new ways of creating just and humane communities.

Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn is nationally recognized as a successful exemplar STEM education program.  Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn will bring an effective model for designing excellent STEM activities that balances high level concepts with practical skills, open-ended personalization with structure, and that includes planned improvisation strategies to accommodate varying levels of interest and skills.

Partner 2:
Partner Program Sites
Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF) offers a range of affordable programs including preschool, school-aged and adult education, family literacy, youth employment, violence prevention and intervention, senior activities, recreation and enrichment. BCYF’s 35 facilities are located throughout Boston. Many programs at BCYF community centers are free, including many sports, recreation, enrichment, and adult education (e.g. English for Speakers of Other Languages, GED preparation, citizenship classes, etc.) programs.  Other programs, including some childcare and after school programs are fee-based but offer sliding scales to keep them affordable. For the Collaborate Boston Initiative, the Shelburne (Roxbury), Vine Street (Roxbury) and Gallivan (Mattapan) sites will participate in the Youth Media Network Project.

Partner 3:
The YMCA of Greater Boston is dedicated to improving the health of mind, body and spirit of individuals and families in our communities. We welcome men and women, boys and girls of all incomes, faiths and cultures.  Founded in 1851 as America’s first Y, the YMCA of Greater Boston has strengthened the Greater Boston community through a focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.  As the community’s leading nonprofit, we are dedicated to nurturing the potential of every child and teen, improving our community’s health and well-being and providing opportunities to give back and support our neighbors. Each year the YMCA enables more than 100,000 youth, adults, and seniors to be healthy, confident, connected and secure. For the Collaborate Boston Initiative, the Dorchester and Egelston (Roxbury) sites will participate in the Youth Media Network Project.

Partner 4:
Boston Neighborhood Network is a non-profit community media production center, distributing local, non-commercial programming created by residents, non-profit organizations and public agencies in the City of Boston.  Since 1983, Boston Neighborhood Network has provided professional training and services to cablecast a variety of relevant information, increase access to city services, offer a valuable medium to share local resources and give a direct voice to the community to promote unique opportunities for advancement. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, our New and Information channel 9 RCN 15, and our Community TV channel, Comcast 23 RCN 83, reflect the diversity of our city and areas of public importance and concern often overlooked by other media outlets.

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