Kid journalists take on suicide, climate change, and homelessness

Taos nonprofit helps local students cover communities through podcasts, film, stories

By Staci Matlock
editor@taosnews.com
Posted 5/30/19

A film about the world after climate destruction, written, acted, filmed and edited by kids and a podcast about the homeless in Taos. A public service announcement …

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Kid journalists take on suicide, climate change, and homelessness

Taos nonprofit helps local students cover communities through podcasts, film, stories

Posted

A film about the world after climate destruction, written, acted, filmed and edited by kids and a podcast about the homeless in Taos. A public service announcement created by Taos Pueblo youth to discourage people from taking their own lives. A website and school-wide recycling program started by Moreno Valley teenagers.

Those were just a few of the multimedia projects presented by students and their sponsors during a showcase of their work through True Kids 1 at the Harwood Museum on May 16.

"True Kids 1 is a Taos-based youth media education nonprofit with a mission to provide New Mexico youth with media skills, experience and opportunities to open career paths and promote digital citizenship," according to executive director Andrew "Rosey" Hayett in a statement.

Raya Shabtai, an eighth-grader at Roots and Wings Community School, said of working with True Kids 1: "I think that this is really important because it gives kids like me the chance to learn about media, which I think is really important nowadays because it's a big part of everyone's lives. I personally feel that I can do something important."

Among the projects were:

• Anansi Charter School, sixth grade: three podcasts on homelessness (Dreamtree, CAV, Men's Shelter)

• Taos Charter School, sixth grade: New Mexico Science and History Museum's Brainy Solutions Video Contest submissions (winner third place in New Mexico)

• Taos Middle School: Anti-bullying PSAs

• Taos Pueblo Day School: Poetry podcast

• Moreno Valley High School: Website on promoting recycling in Angel Fire

• Roots and Wings Community School: Short film set in a climate-changed world.

A total of 21 K-12th grade classrooms in seven area schools participated in the True Kids 1 Classroom Media Productions pilot program. The program was in partnership with the Media Education Lab at Columbia College Chicago and University of New Mexico-Taos. In the pilot, True Kids 1 supported classrooms to produce collaborative civic media projects (projects which address an issue in the community).

In other True Kids 1 news:

Two students in the program won LANL Foundation scholarships: Zach Ginn was one of three students in the state to win a $20K Gold award; Jeremy Duran won a $6K Bronze level award.

Taos Youth Software program, launched by software developers Bill Hood and Mike Yeager, joined True Kids 1 to teach kids how to code.

True Kids 1 will be offering six summer camps:

• App development - creating a New Mexico Higher Ed App with Gear UP NM, June 17-20, at University of New Mexico-Albuquerque

• Coding - Programming camp for middle school students at University of New Mexico-Taos

• Podcast creation with Little Globe, New Mexico School for the Arts and KSFR in Santa Fe

• Podcast creation with Moving Arts Española

• Human Rights/Video Production with Kids for Global Peace and Moving Arts Española, creating a public service music video on Human Rights, July 1-19

True Kids 1 will be expanding to 35 classrooms in 14 schools in Taos and Española in the 2019-20 school year, director Hayett said. The nonprofit recently received a $15,000 educational grant from the LANL Foundation for programs.

"The value is learning life is bigger than their world they live in," Lindsey Pfaff Bain, whose sixth-grade child was part of a podcast team, told Hayett after the showcase. "The value is learning life skills, best practices, self-confidence, self-awareness, working together as a team, selflessness [and] beaming [with] joy for completing a project from start to finish."

Kids who want to get involved with True Kids 1 can contact Hayett at info@truekids1.org.

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