transformative media

We often underestimate youth. We underestimate the power of self-mobilization and self-education that they possess. Kids are very much aware of what is going on and many times they can understand and articulate these experiences better than adults. For this reason, youth media projects can be liberating and empowering because they instill some trust in this power, in this ability. When watching a media project directed by youth, we can begin to realize just how much these kids are engaged in society.

Reel Lives is a non-profit organization based in New York City that aims to educate marginalized youth through filmmaking. This youth-based production center focuses on teaching foundational technical skills to these students who then create documentaries from start to finish. These films are their stories, many times starting as personal narratives and expanding out into larger world issues. Many of these stories revolve around topics of immigration, self-identity, and interpersonal relationships. Karim’s story involves his passion for soccer and how that has shaped his integration into American society.

The concept of giving youth a voice through a lens is a powerful medium for youth development. Film has tremendous transformative power and can help children express themselves in creative, alternative ways. Give a camera to a child, give a little guidance, and see what happens…