Now, before we get into that, a little history on what New America Media does might be in order. NAM is a powerhouse media outlet; they are the first and largest national colaboration of news organizations, with about 2,000 different ethnic news organizations. They facilitate the connection of over 57 million adults world wide. They are all about the letting the voice of the little guy be heard, with an emphasis on voicing the needs of minorities, immigrants, and youth.
With a grant from the California Endowment, NAM is starting up VOICEWAVES, a youth-led media project. This program will teach, a select few, youth how to become journalists. They will be taught how to use every form of media outlet to bring awareness to local health issues. There are a few requirements you have to meet to be eligible for Voicewaves; applicants must be ages 14-24, they must live in Central or West Long Beach, and be interested in learning media journalism as well as voicing their concerns to the policy makers. This program not only gives participants a chance to learn life long skills and a chance to have their voices be heard, but it also offers a monthly stipend, meaning you get paid. If you're interested, or know someone who might benefit from this, applications are being accepted until April 6th
The person who is actually going to be taking on the monumental task of molding these applicants into journalists is Prumsodun Ok. Promsodun has done tons of work with the community. He was born and raised in Long Beach, so he knows what's going on in the neighborhoods of those he is going to be mentoring. He has won countless awards in the arts, worked along side many great artists, had works published in dance journals, and works with the YMCA program in Long Beach. He commented that he, along with his partner Antonio Ruiz, are going to work to keep this program going "for life."
"We're taking to their family members, to their friends, to their neighbors, to themselves, and asking what their needs are in the community," said Promsodum. "These communities were chosen because they are mainly low income and when you think about Central Long Beach, it is very diverse...its also an extremely depressed community that is struggling to be heard."
Even after the funding from the CA Endowment runs out, they both have the know-how to do grant writing and can work at getting funding for the program for many years to come.