Local students tackle serious topics in self-produced media projects

A man on stage at MyMedia showcase event speaks to a full audience

How does it feel to be the new kid at school? How can teens in urban areas benefit from learning about agriculture, aquaculture and how to build a greenhouse? What can we do to reduce bullying and violence among youth? These are just a few of the questions explored in media projects produced by local elementary and high school students as part of MyMedia, a STEAM program that educates Greater Cleveland youth in media, arts and emerging technologies for use in self-expression, communication and social change.

This week, a packed audience filled the Westfield Insurance Studio Theatre at the Idea Center at Playhouse Square to view Early Reality, a program comprised of short videos scripted, filmed, edited and produced entirely by MyMedia students. The program included reporting segments, music videos, interviews and more – all created from the perspective of young people. Some segments were fun and lighthearted, like the Q&A with students from Anton Grdina elementary school who answered questions like, “If you could be invisible for one day, what would you do?” Others were profound, including the closing segment featuring an award-winning spoken word performance by LaMonte Jones, who delivered sharp social commentary informed by his personal experience growing up in public housing in some of Cleveland’s toughest neighborhoods. Watch the entire Early Reality program here:

MyMedia is all about empowering youth to use tools of communication – writing, videography, editing, reporting, graphic design, audio production and more – to address topics that impact their communities and matter to them. MyMedia students meet two times per week; one day is spent at IdeaStream working on technical projects and the other is spent in the community, completing neighborhood-based homework. The students create media projects from their own perspectives and voices, with a goal to reach and have a positive impact on their peers. MyMedia has been active for about three years, and its curriculum and programming have evolved since it began. Today, 35 students participate in the program, which is active in Ohio City, Kinsman and Warrensville Heights. We’re proud to support MyMedia as part of the MyCom youth development initiative we helped to launch. Other MyMedia partners include IdeaStream, Reading RAMM and Neighborhood Leadership Institute.

Want to learn more about MyMedia? Contact Kasey Morgan, Network Director, Greater Cleveland MyCom via kasey@neighborhoodleadership.com