Written By, bel Reyes and Kindra F. Montgomery-Block
UC Davis School of Education, Center for Community School Partnerhsips
May 24, 2010

Set-up began early Saturday May 22  at 7:30 a.m., with student volunteers folding t-shirts, organizing registration sign-in sheets and setting up signs that would soon direct the Youth Media Forum for Social Change audience members to the registration area.

At 9 a.m. youth and adults made their way through the KCRA Channel 3 doors, just beyond the glass protected visitors desk, and down a hallway to the sign directing youth and adults to Studio B. Once past the dark, heavy curtains, youth and adults were welcomed with music played by DJ Mark West. Cameras positioned throughout the studio were set to capture even the slightly movement or sound, and from above the gleam of lights reflected on the faces filling in one seat at a time until Studio B became a packed house for the May 22, 2010 First Annual Youth Media Forum for Social Change live online premiere!

Kicking off the forum was a Sacramento Area Youth Speaks (SAYS) Poets Gyro, with the words I am a 14 year-old soldier. . . inspiring audience members and host and KCRA 3 News Director, Anzio Williams who welcomed everyone to the Youth Media Forum for Social Change. Co-host Kindra Montgomery-Block, Director of Training and Community Relations at the UC Davis School of Education, Center for Community School Partnerships, emphasized the purpose of the forum: to showcase and support a Sacramento Capital Regional effort for youth-led community change through social media. Patsy Eubanks Owens, UCD Associate Professor (Healthy Youth/Healthy Regions) then presented a few words of acknowledgement, closing out the welcome portion of the program.

With all eyes focused on the stage, Kindra and Anzio introduced the first panel of five youth who spoke eloquently about their documentaries: Sheltered, Open Your Eyes Teen Pregnancy, From the Community to the Classroom, Role Models, and Norma Barajas. The panelists responded to questions from the Moderators and the audience who asked questions such as, why did you pick the topic of your documentary and in what ways are you similar to Norma Barajas?

Documentaries were not the only form of youth media showcased at the Youth Media Forum. The second panel showcased youth-led social media resources in the form of Blogs, Google Maps, and an Online Teen Newspaper. The second panel included youth from the West Sacramento Youth Resource Coalition, Sactown Heroes, the author of Stephanies Blog, and the Woodland Coalition for Youth/Yolo Family Resource Center Teen Online Newspaper. Moderator bel Reyes, from the UC Davis School of Education, Center for Community School Partnerships, asked the panelists to speak about their use of media one by one because unlike the documentaries, there was no sound for the Blog, Google Maps, and online Newspaper. Each of the youth spoke passionately about the importance of their media work in their own development and as part of on-going community change efforts.   The third panel of youth included Valley High Students Reaching Out (SRO), two Kennedy High School Students, and a member of the Rancho Cordova Community Collaborative for Healthy Children and Families, who showcased their Public Service Announcements and Photo Maps. The panelists responded to questions asked by Moderator Zenae Scott, Acting Director of Sacramento City Unified School District Youth Development Support Services.

Closing the forum was Tuere Anderson, Director of Health Services with Youth Radio. Tueres closing re-emphasized the importance of creating venues and spaces in which youth voice is supported. “Youth,” she reminded us, are native to technology culture.

The Youth Media Forum for Social Change was rooted in the beliefs of the community partners, all of whom believe as Tuere gracefully articulated that youth share and tell their stories through the use of social media because the communities in which they live impacts their lives, politically, socially, educationally, emotionally, and physically, yet inspires and motivates them in a real way. With the support of community partners UC Davis, Access Sacramento, KCRA Channel 3, Sacramento City Unified School District, and a host of other community organizations, we look forward to planning the Second Annual Youth Media Forum for Social Change!

Online link to the featured Youth Social Media Projects: http://www.healthycal.org/youth-telling-stories-through-social-media.html