(and we chose to accept it!)
Using podcast as a vehicle, connectopod develops leaders with an understanding that every story has multiple points of view and that we are all connected. Working with kids in adverse environments, we shift the focus from needing to leading. In the process of creating a podcast, youth reporters learn to reach out, speak out, listen and to create their own opportunities.
connectopod’s podcast itself is a byproduct of the real goal: to transcend barriers, boundaries and any preconceived notions a child has of themselves or that others may have of them.
While engaging as journalists, asking the tough questions and doing the research, they also pick up technical skills, learn how to interview, pump up their literacy, and become confident public speakers. They also create an online body of work that serves as a linkable resume for future employers, school applications, and internship, scholarship and grant opportunities.
Hard won self esteem helps them maneuver the challenges, fair or not, that lie ahead.
connectopod: You've got a voice kid. Use it!
connectopod, formerly known as The Greatest MEND Podcast (GMP) was created by Betsy Foldes Meiman*, a pro voice-over artist, and Andrea Lopez, then MEND Youth Services Coordinator. Offered as an after-school program to MEND, the largest and best anti-poverty center in CA, the goals were to improve language skills, have fun, and instill confidence. It grew into a show now streaming on iTunes and Podbean and evolved to include video.
The GMP project proved to be a great teaching tool for kids in adverse circumstances. It’s challenging, to say the least, for a kid to sit and focus on traditional homework when family financial crisis, discrimination, or PTSD are very real issues. With podcast, our youth learn STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) curriculum effortlessly! Driven by their own curiosity, the reporters were create stories, research, report, reach out, interview people who were doing interesting things, record and edit themselves and each other, compose theme music with apps, and produce community events, all while supporting each other and having fun.
We have a vision to connect youth reporters around the world by teaching this curriculum, in person and remotely, in areas where kids have no voice. We will help them connect, engage, speak up, speak out and give them a platform to amplify it.
Our goal is to teach kids that their voice has value and give them the skills to express that voice. Connect them to mentors who, through perseverance, talent and hard work have become professionals in their chosen field. Life can be hard, we want to give them the skills and confidence to even the playing field. Prove money is an obstacle, not a deterrent. Show them rejection happens all the time and so what. Can’t keep a good reporter down!
"More people told me no than yes." - Levi Ponce, international muralist
connectopod mixes kids of all socioeconomic levels, introverts, extroverts, kids facing challenges financial or emotional. All kids ready to work on this project (because it is work!). Take away the divisions, empathy flourishes. We want to connect communities.