Baltimore Speaks Out! with Wide Angle Youth Media

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By Deborah Taylor, Young Adult Librarian

This post is part of the series Giving Back with Community Outreach Programs.

Join the conversation: #PrattOutreach

One of the most successful program partnerships in Young Adult Services in recent years has been the ongoing presence of Wide Angle Youth Media, a non-profit organization that provides Baltimore youth with media education to tell their own stories and become engage in their communities. Our current partnership program is Baltimore Speaks Out!, which operates in the fall and spring, and provides youth ages 10-15 with free media education right in their own community. This 12-week after school program teaches young people video production, critical thinking, public speaking, team-building, and leadership skills.

"I think other youth should join because it's very fun, especially if you like media."
- Danielle Clapperton

By the end of the semester, students in the BSO program will have created their own video about youth and community concerns that will be screened locally and around the world.

Through regular attendance, students are eligible to earn service learning hours for their participation. This fall the program will be offered at the Reisterstown Road branch and a program that is open for only Patterson Park Public Charter students in partnership with the Patterson Park branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. There is open enrollment for the Reisterstown Road program.

Baltimore Speaks Out! ParticipantsBaltimore Speaks Out! ParticipantsBaltimore Speaks Out! ParticipantsBaltimore Speaks Out! Participants
Click to view larger. Photos courtesy of Wide Angle Youth Media.

When Pratt’s youth services was in the early stages of developing what would become the Community Youth Corps Program, the library reached out to other youth serving partners, especially those who were interested in providing activities for young people that employed youth development principles: positive interaction with adults and peers, chances to grow and learn, exploration of new areas, and opportunities to give back to the community.

"It is a great program if you want to let your feelings out or want to edit movies."
- Ricky Wing

The mission of Wide-Angle Media Youth Program has brought all of these attributes and more to teen services at a various branch libraries in the Pratt System. Through our partnership, the Library has been able to provide media training to youth in communities served by the Pennsylvania Ave, Orleans Street, Herring Run, and Reisterstown Road branches.

"The Baltimore Speaks Out! Program helps you express yourself more to show your inner self."
- Davon Hughes

In addition the library has hosted Wide Angle’s Video Extravaganza (WAVE), a celebration of youth producers, ages 11-20, who have participated in Wide Angle Youth Media programs and workshops. The Library has also featured some of the student films on its teen web page.

Those of us who work with teens, either in direct public service or in administering programs recognize the important role media plays in the lives of all young people. This partnership allows our teen customers a chance to be more than consumers of media. This program gives teens a chance to create the media that will give voice to their unique stories.

In Our Shoes- Baltimore Youth Speak Out About Their Challenges & Joys from Wide Angle Youth Media on Vimeo.

To apply for the Baltimore Speaks Out! Program, please visit Wide Angle Youth Media.

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