Kids Have a Voice!

By Ameshia Cross

Growing up, I developed a love for news on paper, TV, and radio. I’d watch the morning news shows every day before heading off to school. My friends and family thought my love for journalism was a little strange for a teenager. But my interests opened many windows of opportunity, including serving as a communications intern for Al Gore’s Climate Project when was I was an undergraduate in college. Back when I was a teenager, I guess not as many kids were interested in journalism and the environment like I was, but I’m finding that there are plenty of kids today who are excited about these topics!

Here’s a recent example of kids combining journalism and environmental topics. At the Sixth Annual meeting for the Clinton Global Initiative in September 2010, Earth Echo International announced its first STREAM (STudents Reporting Environmental Action through Media) youth citizen journalist bureau. This bureau is located in the Gulf Region area including Louisiana and Alabama.

40 middle and high school students and their teachers from communities in Louisiana and Alabama received hands-on training and coaching from leading journalists and environmental experts, including Philippe Cousteau, Jr. The students were recruited because of their interest in broadcast and print journalism and the global environment. During their training workshop in December, the students wrote, produced, edited and filmed videos on environmental issues ranging from forest preservation to air and water issues. These students took their love of journalism and growing interest in working for a better environment to create products that instruct, inform, and put a youthful face to the growing challenges that face the world’s environment.

For all those kids out there who are wide-eyed and amazed by the exciting world of journalism and want to make the world a better place, don’t feel discouraged like I did when I was a teenager. There are programs out there for you. Youth have a voice and that voice is important. Environmental issues need attention and the drive and determination of young people can provide that.

About the author:  Ameshia Cross joined the EPA in December as a STEP intern in the Air and Radiation Division in Chicago. She has worked for numerous community organizations, holds seats on youth education boards, and is active in politics. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Administration with an emphasis on environmental policy and legislation.

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