Taking on the Flying Trapeze by Katherine Sims of Weekday High

August 24, 2011 in Youthcast by Molly Adams

You’re probably hearing a whole bunch of back to school nonsense right now: features about homeschooling, tracking, uniforms, extended school hours, curriculum changes.YouthCast takes you to where you want to be in these precious last days of summer: not sitting at a desk in a classroom, but flying 50 feet in the air as you learn how to use the trapeze at circus school.

Katherine Sims of Weekday High takes on an adventure with the help of her older brother.

Weekday High churns out a bunch of awesome stories every summer, as apart of their high school internship program. Here's Katherine's more "back-to-schooly" piece about homeschooling, as told by the kids who live it and the parents who run it.
Intro music is Something Elated (Broke For Free) / CC BY-ND 3.0

Outro music is Boogie (Christian Muela) / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

The image we used in this post is of Emma Ward, a Wisconsin trapeze artist. You can see more photos from circuses from the late 19th- and early 20th- centuries at the Wisconsin Historical Society's web page.

A Child's View of Domestic Violence by Valencia McMurray of MPR News

August 10, 2011 in Youthcast by Molly Adams

For fourteen years, a singular event has shaped Valencia McMurray's life: her mother, Charlene Sanders, was violently attacked by her father when she was 6 years old. More than a quarter of American children experience parents physically fighting each other at some time in their lives. Early researchers into family violence often considered children to be "invisible victims," but that view is changing.

MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

Valencia's story follows how she, her mother, and her siblings reacted that night and how they've dealt through the years, mostly by trying to forget what happened. Her mom actually says she was surprised nobody asked her how her kids were doing. Now, Valencia reports that new focus on the affects of domestic violence on children have helped her and will help more kids in the future.


We've featured a few other stories from the MPR News Youth Series. Give them a listen and you'll travel to Washington DC to meet the president and to California to visit a Japanese Internment camp.

Music on this week's episode is by Deal the Villain, our fave.

A Little Flushed Up by Sara Zhang of WHJE

July 27, 2011 in Youthcast by Molly Adams

Poop talk: when its personal, its embarrassing—at least for most people—but when you’re talking about global access to sanitary conditions, it’s a humanitarian crisis.

Bill Gates made headlines last week when his charitable foundation invested in a toilet redesign: Between 30 and 40% of the world does not have access to a clean, sanitary human waste disposal method and lack of access can create disease and death that spreads through an entire community, simply because someone wasn’t able to flush. According to the Foundation, over 1 million children under the age of 5 die of diarrheal disease each year. That's more than AIDS and malaria combined.

Last year, WHJE Carmel was on this story. Reporter Sara Zhang takes us out of our comfort zone in her feature A Little Flushed Up.


Below is the video that the Gates Foundation produced to publicize their campaign. If you follow that link above that mentions his name, you can read about some fo the project proposals that would turn human waste into an energy source.


A Ghanaian Girl's Take on London by Bernice Akuamoah

July 13, 2011 in Youthcast by Molly Adams

© 2007/Toprak

One of the best ways to ease into adulthood and the end of summertime freedom is with an internship: You don’t always work long hours and therefore don’t have to shoulder too much responsibility. You can sometimes move to another place for a while and get a taste of some travel. And, most importantly, you’re learning job skills that will help you be a real adult in the coming years.

This week's episode brings together two staples of summertime: traveling and taking on a new job. UNICEF Digital Diarist Bernice Akuamoah, pictured to the left, celebrates her 21st birthday in London, England, far away from her hometown of Accra, Ghana. She's in London to complete an internship with Al-Jazeera English, and while she's working hard and having fun, it's impossible not to be a little homesick. Bernice also interviews her boss about the importance of an internship.


Here's the link to the first part of Bernice's London Diary, where we get to see more of the city and meet some of her friends when they talk about defying expectations for young women while they take the time to find their passions in work.

Music in this episode is Journey To The Moon by DjCode / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Best Couple by Vikky Cruz of Radio Rookies

June 29, 2011 in Youthcast by Molly Adams

This week's feature is timely piece in a few ways. First of all, it’s the first week of summer. So we need something romantic and happy to celebrate. Secondly and thirdly, civil unions between same sex couples are now recognized in the state of Illinois and marriages of couples of all genders are now recognized in the state of New York. And June is Pride Month!

Deoine and Vikky

So if you haven’t guessed, its time for a good old fashioned gay, teen love story, courtesy Victoria Cruz of Radio Rookies (and they have a bunch of new features up there, BTW, so check 'em out!). This one is about two young women who live in New York City and got to high school. That’s pretty much all you need to know. It is short, to the point, and you’ll feel like you are having a casual conversation with the reporter that easily slips into moments of profundity.


This piece also won 2nd place at the Blunt Youth Radio Audio Slam. Congratulations!

Remembering Barbara Jean by Patrick Presby of Blunt Youth Radio

June 15, 2011 in Youthcast by Molly Adams

The Blunt Youth Radio Project in Portland, Maine also includes a program at the Long Creek Youth Development Center, a juvenile detention facility. This program helps with literacy skills, computer skills, and is also– shhh!– a fun extracurricular for the students. The features are usually personal essays geared toward helping the writers in their rehabilitation, or they cover an aspect of detained life. One of the most famous Long Creek stories, "What's In the Food?" was actually featured on This American Life.
This essay is by Patrick Presby. Pat remembers his step-mother, Barbara Jean, from the first time they met, to the last time he saw her. Though the 11 years in between were sometimes hard for Patrick – including a turn to juvenile crime – he remembers the care she gave him, and her incredible capacity to forgive.
Today, Patrick is doing well and is a proud father to his son.  He lives in Gray, Maine. Read a really nice profile about him and other students doing work in the Dominican Republic in the Portland Press Herald, where the above photo is from. Listen to some more work by Long Creek kids on PRX.
Songs in this episode are on the album Celadon by Macaw / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Hustlers, Street Vendors, and Farmers by King Anyi Howell of Youth Radio

June 1, 2011 in Youthcast by Molly Adams

One of my friends likes to make fun of farmer’s markets. Bikes! Hummus! Organic! Sustainable! He thinks it’s a bunch of yuppie stuff. And sometimes I have to agree: 6 dollar loaves of bread? 5 dollars a pound for tomatoes? I know I’m supporting the local growers, but I can't live like I have the money I think I should have.

Class division, and therefore in a lot of urban areas, race division, can make for food issues that go beyond having a farmer’s market in your hood. (Ever hear of food deserts?) King Anyi Howell visits a farmer's market in Los Angeles aimed at attracting black customers. The market wants to bring fresh produce to a neighborhood known for fast food restaurants.

Sarah Zhang, commenting on the piece on PRX, thinks this one is a little too local in topic for all listeners, but she (as well as your host) was impressed by the writing, editing, and voicing on this feature. Something to learn from Youth Radio producer and reporter King Anyi Howell.


Above is a photo from the Harambee market taken by Mr. Howell. His blog hasn't been active in awhile, but he has produced some great reports and commentaries for Youth Radio and for NPR. Check his work and be inspired.

Music in this episode is from a free album by artist Kurobear. You can download it at the Free Music Archive. It's chill. And dope.

Homestead Childhood by Grace Edgerton of City High Radio

May 18, 2011 in Youthcast by Molly Adams

A homestead cabin in Wisconsin

It’s a childhood dream, to grow up in the wild, close to nature, maybe in a tree-house, Swiss Family Robinson style. But in reality, it might not be as easy as the picture books show. Grace Edgerton grew up on a homestead out in the Arizona desert, initially living in tents before the house was built.

She now lives in Tucson and attends City High School, a small charter school with an awesome radio program. And when it came time for her to make a feature, there was no other question as to what story Grace would tell: her own.

This episode includes an interview with the producer herself!


The book I reference in my interview with Grace is called This Life Is In Your Hands, by Melissa Coleman. It's about another childhood spent going "back to the land" in Maine, that ends quite tragically.

The music in this episode is by Toumani Diabate, a master of the kora, a 21 string harp from Mali.

Dolores Huerta at the 18th Annual Cesar Chavez March by Victor Torres of KUNM

May 4, 2011 in Youthcast by Molly Adams

César Chávez is a name synonymous with organized labor, nonviolent protest, and Latino civil rights. A name that is less immediately recognizable is Dolores Huerta. She co-founded the United Farm Workers with Chavez in 1960 and has continued her advocacy and activism for working people throughout her life. And she just turned 81!

While his birthday, March 31 is observed as a holiday in California, there has also been a movement to have it recognized nationally, similar to Martin Luther King, Jr. day.

KUNM Youth Radio attended the Cesar Chavez Day celebrations in Albuquerque where Ms. Huerta was speaking. She was interviewed by Victor Torres about her memories of working the UFW and her messages for activists today.


Victor has been on YouthCast as the subject of a story before. The reason Ms. Huerta thanks him so profusely is that he and a team of lawyers took action against his school when they were demoting him to less advanced courses because of his physical and speech disabilities caused by cere

The beautiful portrait of Dolores is the work of artist Barbara Carrasco.

Music in this episode is by podcast favorite, Daghoti.


School Choice by Jerry Cruz and Allison Albrecht of Radio Arte and Y-Press

April 20, 2011 in Youthcast by Molly Adams

Regardless of what high school you may decide on, it will probably look boring and institutional like this one.

Chicago Public Schools are made up of 675 schools from elementary to high school. 71 of those are charter schools. We’ve also got magnets, achievement academies,  military academies, career academies, and the list goes on.  With such a grand variety, students in Chicago’s public system can decide where they want to go for high school, but the options might not be as open as you would hope.

This is a story about students motivations and decision processes in finding which institution’s style best fits them. However, these choices involve a lot of applications. Reporters Jerry Cruz and Allison Albrecht question how much a Chicago student has exactly in “School Choice” from Y-Press and Radio Arte.


Radio Arte, a youth run radio station in Chicago’s southwest neighborhood of Pilsen, and Y-Press of Indianapolis collaborated on a series of stories called (w)indy. One four part series that has been uploaded to PRX focuses on Chicago’s school system. The other four part-er focuses on Indianapolis’s diverse population and will be up soon.

I was researching budget numbers when writing the script for this story and was totally blown away by the amount of money spent on education! It's a lot! But more unbelievable figures are the budget shortfalls that school districts across the country are predicting for the coming year. In Chicago, we are short $760 million of the $5.3 billion it costs to run the schools. In New York, the Governor is proposing a $1.4 billion cut to education (from the $17 billion NYC public schools need to run) to help the state make ends meet. Got any public school drama where you live? Leave it in the comments!


Intro by music is Hella by Broke For Free on the Free Music Archive / CC BY 3.0

Outro music by Jonphonics on BandCamp.