Youth Media Transforms to #TeenTigerTV

Who will join us on Sept. 21st in the WPAA-TV Community Room for pizza, kettle corn, and inspiration?

Our local celebration is open to young people ages 11 to 25. No reservation is required.
Starts at 6:30 | Ends at 8:30 pm, or until there is a consensus that it is time to go.

Together we will watch and listen to the voices of young people concerned about democracy including our very own youth leader, Ben Negron.

Ben is a finalist in the Democracy 2022 Civic Life Project Film Challenge. Finalists’ 1st, 2nd & 3rd place status will be announced by the Civic Life Project during an online event on the 21st. We will be watching.

Our event features:

  • Party Pizza & Kettlecorn refreshments starting at 6:30 pm
  • Democracy 2022 Civic Life Project Award (Online) | 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
  • What is next for TeenTiger TV (school vacation days, Friday evenings)

This year our summer youth participants rebranded the WPAA-TV youth program as Teen Tiger TV. The bold tiger was designed by Zara Jaferi, a High School Community Serice participant. Youth Lead Media Program at WPAA-TV and Community Media Center 28 S Orchard St. The tiger image is inspired by Hercules our Public Art Mural, by #ARCY, now a symbol of empowerment for those journeying with us on adventures in community media.

Summer of 2022

We were on the precipice of not happening even though we had planned to be more ready than ever. Ben, a 2021 youth team member, successfully navigated the Grass Roots Youth Leadership Funding process for a summer grant to employ Youth Leaders. He also helped secure a year-long grant from James H Napier Foundation, for us to explore what is, and is NOT, possible in support of youth media-makers in Wallingford. However, our efforts to secure new laptops went sideways so the summer program had some challenging technology days.

Fortunately, Mandy Miranda, the current Wallingford Youth & Social Services (YSS) Director, is very supportive of our youth initiatives. Through YSS, eligible youth are placed with us in the summer for 6-weeks of OJT training. They earn minimum wage and work up to 19 hours per week. This summer, four youth participants were funded through Workforce Alliance. They started a few days after our anticipated start date. Two others participated for High School Community Service credit. We had planned for 6-8 participants.

This year’s youth effort merited a special edition video-filled Newsletter. Check it out here. Within this Newsletter Report is a piece that harkens back to a testimonial done on Bullying & Suicide by a member of the 1st summer’s team. It is on the global Internet Archive here.

Capstone Project Summer 2022 | Life Changing

It’s Never Too Late (34 life-changing seconds) was preceded by days of conversation and skill mastery. Please watch it here. And consider sharing the link to amplify the youth’s voices and save lives: Please take note that this is an AI-amplified video. It used a mix of photography & Craiyon-generated images. The YouTube description cites image sources.

Our last-minute, fill-in, Story Coach (underwritten by CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant) took many deep breaths when the youth decided that awareness of suicide and the 988 number would be their capstone project. It was hard for many reasons. One reason, by the age of 35, he had lost five to suicide. His measured testimony showed the team that suicide has a long reach.

Members of the team watched videos, read articles, and tried to script a song — but failed to be satisfied with what they created. It needed to be unlike anything they had seen. With all other projects winding down, including a few pieces on the Coalition For A Better Wallingford, Noah Cutler and Ben tried one more time to distill a message that could be produced with some of the information and media compiled including Artificial Intelligence (AI) made images. There were 3 hours left to go and Noah did not want to concede that helping the Coalition met the team’s goal to contribute as youth voices.

In the last hour of the summer, the team unknowingly would participate in an impromptu oral report on their summer that Team Lead Ben would edit. It is obvious that some of them prefer not to be ‘on’ camera.

Youth Programs Going Forward | It Takes a Village

WPAA-TV is volunteer-run. This is one of the few programs in which staff and participants are paid. A portion of our #TheGreatGive06492 dollars was spent feeding the team. Each week included a long production day. WPAA-TV provided supper purchased from a local eatery. Why: 1) Participant eligibility for the program is either socially or economically disadvantaged, and 2) it reinforced what we do, ‘support local’.

IF we do this 6-week summer marathon again, it will definitely include a video report as it speaks volumes about the experience. WPAA-TV also produces Annual Video Reports about the work of the station garnering national Hometown Festival recognition (2019, 21, and 22) from the Alliance For Community Media.

A few things that did not make the Newsletter: our core ongoing civics project Place Yourself In History, with reimagined images & reflections, 6000 Books, and podcasts chaptering.

One podcast includes more information about youth opportunities in Wallingford coordinated through YSS. Listen here. For community service credit youth listen to and chapter our podcasts, As ToldHere WPAA-TV. Or they help promote this holocaust survivor’s story. It is a 55-minute listen. They write a few words about what they learned as a takeaway from the listening experience. We use reflections to promote the story to other prospective listeners for an hour of credit.

Our 1st youth program was made possible due to the enthusiasm of Betty Weintraub while she was with Liberty Bank Foundation. The Foundation expanded upon Workforce Alliance funding adding 6 summer jobs for participant youth when state funds were lean. The 1st Jobs playlist is pure gold, or as we say ‘evergreen’. The content is as fresh today as it was when recorded as most life lessons are. Over thirty community leaders provided insight into the prospects of a 1st job experience.

Community-made media #CelebrateWallingfordEveryday #wpaatv #MoreThanTV #TeenTigerTV

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