Avatar of Emily

by Emily

La Oportunidad, by Victoria Campos of University of Texas

February 8, 2012 in Youthcast by Emily


Maria Isabel wasn't supposed to finish the 6th grade. She lived in a tiny mountain ranch in Mexico, where girls stayed home to cook and raise children. If her father had had his way, that's exactly what she would have done.

Instead, Maria Isabel went to a private high school, moved to the United States, and got a college degree. Now, she's a registered nurse living a comfortable life in Texas, where her daughter is studying radio, TV and film at the University of Texas. Her daughter Victoria Campos, that is — the featured producer of this week's Youthcast.


This story is like a three-layer-cake labor of love. Layer one: Victoria is interviewing her mom, whom Victoria describes as "such an inspirational figure in my life." Layer two: Victoria's mom is sharing an intimate story about two strangers who became very dear to her heart. And finally, layer three: it was while recording and editing this piece that Victoria fell in love with making radio. She told me, "I would go to the studio at 1pm and come out at 9pm and not even realize I had spent that much time in there. Throughout the process of editing this story, I realized that I was doing something I really loved."

So have a listen!


Once you've listened, consider this:
What makes this story work for you? Are there other perspectives you might like to hear in addition to Maria Isabel's? Leave a comment here, or tell us what you think on Facebook or Twitter.

Image at top: Victoria and Maria Isabel. Image below: Victoria.

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.

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

From New Orleans to New England by Emily LaFond of Blunt Youth Radio

January 12, 2011 in Youthcast by Molly Adams

Today is the one year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti that has claimed somewhere over 200,000 lives. 2010 also saw the Pakistan floods, which left over 20 million people without homes. The beginning of 2011 has now also seen a lot of pain and sorrow, both from people-made violence and natural disasters.

It takes both the land and its inhabitants decades to recover from a natural disaster and the YouthCast feature this week was made five years ago, in response to the recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

Tyrel and Tevin Wooten lived their whole lives in the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans. For two weeks after Hurricane Katrina, the Wooten family was constantly threatened. Police pointed guns at their step-father, Patrick. Looters broke into the family home. They lived without power in 120 degree heat. Finally, authorities picked the family up and put them on a plane. Thirty minutes into the flight, the pilot announced their destination: Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod. Randomly relocated to a much colder, much more rural area, the Wootens decided to put down roots in Massachusetts.

This non-linear and non-narrated piece is called “From New Orleans to New England” by Emily LaFond of the Blunt Youth Radio Project. A reviewer on PRX suggests that its structure mimics qoute the disjointed and utter confusion that came as a result of Hurricane Katrina. See for yourself!


On the image above: A Mess in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina via News Muse on Flickr

Some more youth-produced stories about overcoming problems after a natural disaster

Intro music in this week's episode is "So Smooth" by Deal The Villain / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Outro music is "Faith's Witness" also by Deal The Villain / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Japanese-American Granddaughter Questions Internment by Mara Kumagai Fink for MPR News Youth Radio

December 29, 2010 in Youthcast by Molly Adams

A New Year usually means a new beginning. It’s time to look back, figure out what worked and what didn’t and then move on with your life. But obviously there are some events and histories that you can’t abandon so easily. Mara Kumagai Fink’s family has that kind of American experience. During World War II, since her family was of Japanese descent, they were moved from their homes in the Pacific Northwest to internment camps in the desert of California. In the years that they lived there, they lost their businesses and their connections to home.

In this story produced for Minnesota Public Radio News' Youth Radio Series, Mara starts with an inteview with her Grandmother, travels to California with her great aunts, and starts to understand the impact of this event on her family. Stay tuned after the feature, because Mara and I had a conversation and she told me some details that are not in the final piece.


Above and to the right is photo of Mara and her Aunt Matsue. They are at the memorial to the internees on Bainbridge Island in Seattle, where most of Mara's family lives now.

To learn more about Japanese American internment, don't just stop at the Wikipedia page (though it is a good jumping off point.) Check out the now National Historic site of Manzanar, the camp that Auntie Matsue and Mara's grandma were interned at, and also the web page for Mara's piece, where MPR News has a slideshow of photographs of Mara and her family as well as historical shots from the 40s.

Homelessness: It Could Happen to Anyone, Even My Dad by Iris SanGiovanni of Blunt Youth Radio

August 25, 2010 in Youthcast by Molly Adams

Iris and her father, Robert

When Blunt Youth Radio member Iris SanGiovanni was eight years old, her dad became homeless for six months after her parents divorced. A few years later, she had the chance to talk with him about his experience.

This conversation exposes the myths and stereotypes that we have about homeless people. Iris even realizes after talking to her dad how much of the advice that he gave her came from his experience. After listening to this, I had to take a moment and reflect on my own life and I felt grateful for what I had. So thank you, Iris and Robert SanGiovanni, for sharing this story with such a large audience.

The Maine Association of Broadcasters awarded Iris's reporting first place in its radio features category, and this was not a special youth category. This was for the whole state of Maine! So congratulations Iris for representing the kind of thoughtful writing and stories that young people are making!



I gave Iris a call while she was at a meeting for Blunt. She told me about her new expectations for herself after creating an award-winning piece at the age of 14 and her new perspectives on family after interviewing her father.

(Listen to the interview!)

Music in this podcast was provided by the Free Music Archive. The intro is called Ringtones by (Xiu Xiu) / CC BY-NC 3.0. The outro is called Hot Brick by CAVE.

Peculiar Privilege and the Elegy by Ece Erdagöz of the Youth Media Project

June 30, 2010 in Youthcast by Molly Adams

Ece Erdagöz is from Turkey and studied at the United World College in Montezuma, New Mexico. While in the States, she got involved with the Youth Media Project, which works with different groups of youth in schools, advocacy programs, performance art groups, etc.

Being a member of two minority groups in Turkey, Ece has been surprised that she never faced any kind of discrimination at home. But when she came to another country to study, she started interviewing her fellow "third culture" peers and found different stories of how people feel about being an outsider.

In the player below is our latest episode with the crisp writing and confident, conversational delivery from Ece Erdagöz in her piece "Peculiar Privilege and the Elegy."


Intro music is by Hayvanlar Alemi / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Outro music is by Digi G'Alessio / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Both songs were found at the awesome Free Music Archive.

Our theme encomapssing photo is from NoBorders Flickr stream. Please head over there if you want to see beautifil B&W phtotography from around the world, accompanied with the short stories behind them

Last Words by Hopi High students and produced by Youth Radio

March 10, 2010 in Youthcast by Molly Adams

For Hopi teenagers, and for other people growing up in native cultures, not being able to speak your language is a painful sign and clear reminder of the history of your family’s oppression. In this piece from Youth Radio, students from Hopi Junior Senior High School and their parents in Keams Canyon, Arizona wonder how they might preserve this part of their culture.

Sunset over the Hopi reservation in Keams Canyon, Arizona | Photo credit: Brett Myers


Rebecca Martin, a Youth Radio producer has this to add:

The story was produced with Hopi High School's radio class. While it was a collaborative production, Austin Coochyamptewa was the lead youth reporter.

Also appearing (in order) are: Alrye Polequaptewa, Leandra Calnimptewa, Paul Quamahongnewa, Annalese Nasafotie, Paul Quamahongnewa, Eloise Coochyamptewa, Leon Koruh, Rochelle Lomayaktewa, and DeAnn Honanie.

* * * * * * *

Intro music: "Leyendecker" by Battles on the album Mirrored.

Outro music: "Oh No" by Andrew Bird on the album Noble Beast. Fun fact: Bird said that the intonation on the refrain was created by a crying, frightened child sitting behind him on a plane.