VoiceWaves Youth Journalists at the reception of our website launch. Photo by Jesus Hernandez.
VoiceWaves is a Long Beach youth-led journalism and media-training project. The youth, ages 16-24, are learning to report, write, and create digital journalism content. Their reports will raise awareness of healthy community issues and activate change action in Central and West Long Beach.
New America Media, with the support of The California Endowment, the Knight Foundation and in partnership with Building Healthy Communities, launched VoiceWaves in May 2011. The youth are being trained to use photography, video, radio and the Internet as community engagement tools to produce a Healthy Long Beach.
The project is based at the Greater Long Beach Y’s Youth Institute and PeacePartners. For more than ten years, the Institute has been a training platform for teaching youth digital media, team-building, and community leadership skills. PeacePartners manages PeaceBuilders, a science-based, research-validated violence prevention curriculum and professional development program for grades pre-K to 12.
The youth are chosen for their interest in journalism and digital media (video, print, photography, and radio). The project will engage youth to speak with community members and policymakers about local health issues. Many of the youth are bilingual in Spanish or Khmer. They are gaining skills that will help them throughout their life, and earn experience that they can turn into a career.
Central and West Long Beach
A small business owner along the Anaheim corridor in central Long Beach. Photo by Prumsodun Ok.
VoiceWaves is proud to call Central and West Long Beach home. It is an area rich in culture, history, and human resources. Perhaps Long Beach’s most diverse areas, these two neighborhoods boast Filipino bakeries and Vietnamese noodle houses, African American barber shops and Mexican taquerias, Cambodian temples and Muslim mosques side by side. The residents of these two districts speak a host of languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, Hmong, Khmer, Samoan, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese to name but a few.
Central and West Long Beach, though, are also the poorest areas of the city. With the exception of violence within the community, media coverage is rare. Residents of these neighborhoods have no news source with which to share their concerns and problems, visions and hopes.
VoiceWaves is about bringing people together. Left to right, Ana Bonilla (Project/Media Coordinator of Building Healthy Communities-Long Beach), Amanda Fruta (Public Relations Director of the University Art Museum-CSULB), Michael Fruta (VoiceWaves’ first volunteer), and Brian Addison (Editor of GetOutLB.com) connect at our launch reception. Photo courtesy of VoiceWaves.
New America Media is the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. Over 57 million ethnic adults connect to each other, to home countries and to America through 3000+ ethnic media, the fastest growing sector of American journalism. NAM produces, aggregates and disseminates multimedia content and services for and from the youth and ethnic media sectors. They support youth development programs that produce peer-to-peer youth media and inter-generational dialogue through ethnic and mainstream media.
For more information, visit www.newamericamedia.org.
The California Endowment is funding a 10-year, $1 billion program called Building Healthy Communities. 14 communities across the state are taking action to make where they live healthier. They’re doing this by improving employment opportunities, education, housing, neighborhood safety, unhealthy environmental conditions, access to healthy foods and more. The goal: to create places where children are healthy, safe and ready to learn. Ultimately, they are aiming at nothing less than a revolution in the way all of us think about and support health for all Californians.
The California Endowment is a foundation committed to improving the health of all Californians, especially those in underserved communities. They’ve made thousands of grants since 1996, and the most important thing they’ve learned is that our health doesn’t begin in a doctor’s office. Where we live has an enormous impact on our health. Being able to breathe clean air, to send our kids to school without fear of violence, to have a convenient place to buy fresh foods, to live near a park where we can walk and play – these are the things that prevent us from getting sick in the first place.
For more information, visit www.calendow.org/healthycommunities.
VoiceWaves is a project of New America Media and is made possible through the generous support of The California Endowment and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, in partnership with Building Healthy Communities: Long Beach, YMCA of Greater Long Beach, Community Development Branch and PeacePartners, Inc.