Two things we have noticed about the media, especially when it comes to issues related to foster care, child abuse and juvenile justice: 1) Stories tend to focus on problems most of the time; 2) Stories are mostly written by people who have not experienced “the system” first-hand.
Our Youth Voice Program is giving young people the opportunity to change this.
FMC’s Youth Voice Program ensures that stories written by youth, and their perspectives as experts with lived experience, are part of the fabric of The Chronicle of Social Change and Fostering Families Today, as well as any media partnerships we have.
Our Youth Voice program is multifaceted, but it has three main areas of focus:
Journalism workshops: FMC partners with community-based organizations serving youth with systems-involvement to teach and work with them on the basics of journalism and producing stories for mainstream media. Introductory workshops are focused on crafting an opinion piece, or Op-Ed.
Advanced level workshops, geared toward those who have completed introductory level workshops, introduce concepts central to news reporting, including but not limited to conducting interviews, incorporating photography and pitching stories to outlets. As part of our workshop curriculum, young people are given the option to work with an editor and work through the editorial process to create a publishable draft of an original story.
These workshops are geared toward young people ages 16-24.
Youth Voice contests: There are so many more young people with perspectives to share than we can reach with workshops, which is why we have been excited to see the positive response to our Youth Voice contests. Through these contests, open to young people across the nation, we invite youth to submit work based on a theme that helps our audiences better understand some aspect of the foster care system. In 2017, we hosted our first essay contest, focused on the theme “Love is…” In summer of 2018, we will launch our first photo-essay contest, which you can learn more about here.
Community submissions: We are proud to also work one-on-one with young people across the country, who pitch the editors of The Chronicle of Social Change and Fostering Families Today on an individual basis, should they be interested in writing on a particular issue that is lacking in coverage.
All Youth Voice writers are paid for their published work. We are pleased to report that our youth-written stories are highly read and widely shared, and FMC is proud to provide a platform from which these important voices can be heard.
If you are interested in learning more about any of the above details, or would like to pitch a story for consideration as part of FMC’s Youth Voice program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.