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Playlist: Best Youth-Made Radio of 2015

Compiled By: PRX Editors

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Curated Playlist

Youth producers across from all over the world are making tons of great work. Here is a slice of some of the best youth-made radio stories of 2015, curated by PRX.

Habits for High School Success

From KDNK | Part of the Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment Program series | 23:27

Maija Petterson interviews Maggie Riley and Garrett Peters, two Roaring Fork School District teachers about what it means to establish healthy habits in high school.

Sept_public_affairs_small Maija Petterson interviews Maggie Riley and Garrett Peters, two Roaring Fork School District teachers about what it means to establish healthy habits in high school.

Classical Orchestra Takes on Improvisation

From ZUMIX Radio | 02:45

Improvisation is not what first comes to mind when you think of classical orchestral music. But that's just what Boston's Landmark Orchestra sought out when it commissioned Brazilian composer Clarice Assad. The process of collaborating with local youth (including rappers) and percussionists is as unique as the product.

Clarice_edited_small Improvisation is not what first comes to mind when you think of classical orchestral music. But that's just what Boston's Landmark Orchestra sought out when it commissioned Brazilian composer Clarice Assad. The process of collaborating with local youth (including rappers) and percussionists is as unique as the product.

Faces of Displacement in East Boston

From ZUMIX Radio | Part of the East Boston Stories series | 03:08

The faces of East Boston may change dramatically in the next few years. That's because of new development that is displacing longtime residents such as Kimberly Romero.

11193420_10153552930674161_7757394620023960649_n_small The faces of East Boston may change dramatically in the next few years. That's because of new development that is displacing longtime residents such as Kimberly Romero.

Gender Fluid Generation: Evolving Gender Norms At School

From Youth Radio | 04:34

Young people increasingly see gender as not just limited to male and female. Youth Radio has been exploring the torchbearers of gender fluidity -- school children. Reporter Nanette Thompson starts us off at her high school in El Cerrito, California.

Img_0200-1024x682_small In many ways, it seems like gender non-conformity awareness is at all-time high. According to a 2015 poll, young people increasingly see gender as not just limited to male and female. The torchbearers of gender fluidity aren’t just celebrities or politicians, they're kids. But schools are still catching up with the needs of gender nonconforming students, as Youth Radio's Nanette Thompson reports. 

Not Your Average Teen Composer

From Open Orchard Productions | Part of the Fresh Picked by Open Orchard Productions series | 05:06

Having fallen in love with the piano as a toddler, now as a teenager, Leila Mohaddes is composing her own music and transposing her songs for string orchestras. She will share with you her love story with music. Hear more of Leila's music here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozcJXgzLuNI

Teen_composer_small Having fallen in love with the piano as a toddler, now as a teenager, Leila Mohaddes is composing her own music and transposing her songs for string orchestras. She will share with you her love story with music. Hear more of Leila's music here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozcJXgzLuNI

For one teen, Ferguson made anxiety around police more severe

From Anne Hoffman | Part of the Generation Voice series | 02:43

Since last August, the cultural conversation has centered on #blacklivesmatter, Ferguson and the death of Eric Garner. But it’s less common to hear about how these events impact the emotional worlds of teens, particularly young men of color. Mikyhial Clarke loves collecting sneakers and listening to old school hip hop, but he struggles with anxiety. Ever since Michael Brown died last summer, Mikyhial says his fears around police have reached a fever pitch.

Screen_shot_2015-04-08_at_2 Since last August, the cultural conversation has centered on #blacklivesmatter, Ferguson and the death of Eric Garner. But it’s less common to hear about how these events impact the emotional worlds of teens, particularly young men of color. Mikyhial Clarke loves collecting sneakers and listening to old school hip hop, but he struggles with anxiety. Ever since Michael Brown died last summer, Mikyhial says his fears around police have reached a fever pitch.

Feeling Raced

From Terrascope Radio | 04:41

Does your race affect how you act? Well, it probably affected how you answered that question.... In this award-winning story, hear why one young man decided he had to hate fried chicken, even if he really liked it, and hear one girl's experience with a preschool teacher who thought she could decide her students' race, permanently.

Default-piece-image-2 Does your race affect how you act? Well, it probably affected how you answered that question.... In this award-winning story, hear why one young man decided he had to hate fried chicken, even if he really liked it, and hear one girl's experience with a preschool teacher who thought she could decide her students' race, permanently. Winner of the 2015 American Society for Engineering Education's Action on Diversity competition.

For Black Boys: "You Are Beautiful"

From KUOW's RadioActive Youth Media | 05:43

“In a place that will never understand you are amazing, in a place that will put fire to you then say you are callous, they will burn you then say you are reckless ... I tell you, you are beautiful, you are grand, you are too permanent to be unloved."

Seattle Youth Poet Laureate Leija Farr reads her poem "For Black Boys" and talks with Black men and boys about self love.

Leija_small

“Black boys bleed every month.”

Those words came to Leija Farr as she saw her dad, enraged, watching the news of another police shooting of a black man.

Farr wrote the poem “For Black Boys” in response to this moment, and it won her the title of Seattle’s first youth poet laureate.

Her work is an ode to black men and boys. In this segment, Farr reads her powerful poem and interviews black men in her life about how they practice loving themselves.

Her father, Jamal Farr, told her, love is a way "to help make ourselves stronger, to help make ourselves be prepared for anything that happens, and to know that you're not out here by yourself."

In a place that will never understand you are amazing, in a place that will put fire to you then say you are callous, they will burn you then say you are reckless, some mothers won’t tell you because they think it is feminine and they want you to prepare for a battlefield your whole life but I tell you, you are beautiful, you are grand, you are too permanent to be unloved. – 'For Black Boys'

RadioActive Youth Media is KUOW's program for youth age 16-20ish. Listen to RadioActive stories, subscribe to the RadioActive podcast and stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter.


Pittsburgh’s Somali Bantu Students

From Youth Express | 03:54

During the industrial revolution, Pittsburgh welcomed thousands of immigrants to southwestern Pennsylvania. The city remains welcoming to families from other countries and is today home to several hundred Somali Bantu refugees. Teen reporters Anna, Christina and Siraji (a former refugee) provide details on issues of assimilation and independence for Somali Bantu teens and young adults.

Slb_yelogo_color_small During the industrial revolution, Pittsburgh welcomed thousands of immigrants to southwestern Pennsylvania. The city remains welcoming to families from other countries and is today home to several hundred Somali Bantu refugees. Teen reporters Anna, Christina and Siraji (a former refugee) interview Greg Jones (tutor, University of Pittsburgh), Jonathan Covel (ESL Director, Pittsburgh Public Schools), Nancy A. Hubley (Education Law Center) and Fatuma Muya (former refugee and Pittsburgh Public Schools graduate) to provide details on issues of assimilation and independence for Somali Bantu teens and young adults. 

An Unlikely Oasis in Johnstown, PA -- Tranquility Gardens

From Youth Express | 03:58

It may surprise you, but many teens are as concerned as adults about being constantly connected in the Internet age. Teen reporters David and Tabitha profile Tranquility Gardens, a secluded park in Johnstown, Pennsylvania that combines nature, art and wisdom from Plato, Socrates, Aristotle and Confucius to help visitors recharge and stay grounded.

Slb_yelogo_color_small It may surprise you, but many teens are as concerned as adults about being constantly connected in the Internet age. Teen reporters David and Tabitha profile Tranquility Gardens, a secluded park in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, that combines nature, art and wisdom from Plato, Socrates, Aristotle and Confucius to help visitors recharge and stay grounded. Founder Steve Purich, 74, talkes about escaping poverty and persecution in Eastern Europe by reading works of the great philosophers and eventually relocating to the U.S. He and naturalist Tresa McVicker also describe how Tranquility Gardens provides a setting for youth mentoring and retreats.

Life, Bread And Gold: The Story of an Egyptian Street Food Vendor

From kim fox | Part of the Student Produced Audio Documentaries series | 06:59

This audio documentary was produced by Sarah El Safty for the audio production course at The American University in Cairo in Cairo, Egypt.

It is about the life of a street food vendor in Egypt, touching on the food, the struggle, the dream and the people on the street.

Sarah_s_audio_doc_image_small

Manal Ghareeb, also known as Dahab, is a college-educated woman who didn't have connections to keep a stable corporate job. So, she decided to open a street food cart in Downtown Cairo to make ends meet. This documentary sheds light on the life of a female street food vendor in Egypt, touching on the food, the people on the street and her aspirations. But, perhaps, most importantly, the documentary demonstrates the struggle the average Egyptian has to go through in order to put food on the table.

This audio documentary was produced by Sarah El Safty for the audio production course at The American University in Cairo taught by Professor Kim Fox in spring 2015.

Why This Teen Stopped Hiding Her Dad's Abuse

From KUOW's RadioActive Youth Media | Part of the RadioActive Fall 2014 series | 06:03

Noel Gasca explores the story of the seemingly perfect girl next door.

Ivy_graduation_crop_small

As a senior at Lake Stevens High School, Ivy Jacobsen appeared confident. Blonde, popular, and a varsity athlete, her peers labeled her as the perfect girl next door. But Jacobsen said there was a time when she wasn't so confident. 

"I was very insecure. I had many friends but I was still really shy," Jacobsen said. "I wasn't really comfortable with who I was, body-wise."

During middle school, Jacobsen's classmates picked on her. One of her former teachers, Larry Palmer, remembers how different she was from other kids. "She was a little bit more naive. You got the impression that she'd had a very sheltered life," he said.

As a child, Jacobsen spent a lot of time with her father. He taught her how to cook, clean, ski, snowboard and play basketball, her favorite sport.

Their apparent bond masked a secret that haunted Jacobsen for years. She was only allowed to have certain numbers on her cell phone. She couldn't have an email account, and she couldn't use the Internet.

Her wardrobe was even dictated by her father. She wasn't allowed to wear tight jeans, or anything "girly." When she had to dress up for basketball events, Jacobsen said her dad would "have to be with" her at the store. "I'd have to try on every article of clothing and get his approval. It was horrid because I couldn't ever wear what I wanted to wear," she said.

But Jacobsen acted like everything was normal. "I was roleplaying," she said. "I was hiding behind a story, hiding behind what my dad was doing to me."

What Jacobsen's father was doing was sexually abusing her, from the time she was in the sixth grade. The abuse went on for five years, until Jacobsen told her best friend during her sophomore year.

The abuse affected every part of Jacobsen's life, including what she loved most -- the thing that bonded her and her father the most -- basketball.

"In order for me to get new basketball shoes, I'd have to do certain things for him, sexually," Jacobsen said.  

Jenifer Jacobsen, her mother, wrote by email that she didn't know her daughter was being sexually abused.

"For a long time, Ivy was controlled by her dad," she said in an email. " I did not know that this was happening, so I'm sure you could imagine how I felt.  She felt freedom for the first time. I allowed her to be who she wanted to be, to act like a kid and a teenager. She was able to dress in her style, wear makeup and style her hair.  I did not realize how much control he had."  

Her ex-husband kept mother and daughter apart. The two couldn't even do things like grocery shopping together.

A few days after that conversation with her friend, Jacobsen's dad was arrested. Jacobsen was terrified that coming forward would tear her family apart, but she knew she was doing the right thing.

Her story is uncommon: 86 percent of sexually abused children don't report their abuse .

Jacobsen went on to do something unimaginable, yet necessary for her freedom: testify against her father in court.

When Jacobsen saw her father on the stand, she "literally felt naked." And she would have to get used to that feeling of intense vulnerability. She went on to testify against her father two more times over 18 months during her sophomore and junior years of high school.

In July 2013, after three separate trials, Jacobsen's father was convicted of rape of a child and child molestation. He's currently serving 16 years in prison. 

After the last trial, Jacobsen's process of rebuilding her life began. "My main thing was to get my body back," she recalled. "I realized, wow, I can go shopping! I can wear what I want to wear. I can be me.'"

"Junior and senior year was totally about me becoming Ivy," she said.

Soon Jacobsen was getting ready to graduate from Lake Stevens High School. Of 500 students in her graduating class, she was selected as one of the speakers for graduation.

She started writing her graduation speech about pursuing and achieving dreams, but then realized it was too ordinary. She threw the speech away. She knew it wasn't what she was supposed to write.

She had already told her close friends about her past, but there were going to be 6,000 people at graduation. When the big day came Jacobsen was nervous, because she was about to tell all those people what happened to her. 

In Jacobsen's speech, she started talking about a girl she knew:

"There was this girl. She was manipulated at a young age. She could only wear certain things to school, and could only talk to particular people.

"She was socially and culturally inept. Also, behind the scenes, her father had started to rape her when she was in the sixth grade.

"She did not know that what he was doing was wrong. Last July 15, her father was finally put into prison.

"Where is this girl now? She is standing before all of you. I am that girl."

Today, Jacobsen is working three jobs and taking online classes through Everett Community College. She has moved into a place of her own. She's writing a book about her experience. She's making her own decisions based on what she wants.

Jacobsen's mother, Jenifer Jacobsen, said that if her daughter hadn't come forward, they'd still be in the same awful situation today. "She's an inspiration to many, but she is truly my hero."  

How 83-Year-Old Houseboat Resident Sees Seattle Gentrification

From KUOW's RadioActive Youth Media | 05:00

Mack Hopkins has been apart of the Seattle floating home community since 1968. He’s seen the community go from affordable homes to million dollar ones. Mack told his story to RadioActive Youth Media producer Aubrey Gelpieryn.

Img_3380_small

Around Mack's home, tulips are blooming and seagulls are flying. People kayak past his window.

Mack lives on a houseboat. Now 83, he has been floating on Seattle's Portage Bay since the Beatles released "Yellow Submarine."

Each dock on Portage Bay has its own distinct character. Some have custom-made homes. Others look like suburban neighborhoods with potted flowers on their front porches and neighbors who look out for each other. Instead of a yard, they have a lake.

Housing costs are skyrocketing throughout Seattle, and the city's iconic houseboat neighborhoods are no exception. Over the last half century, Mack has seen his surroundings change from affordable homes to million-dollar properties.

'Shanty Town' On Portage Bay

Mack, who asked that his last name not be used, has light blue eyes that match the water and a striking vitality. He came to Seattle in 1968 on a whim to visit his cousin and happened upon the houseboat community. Mack had been living overseas and decided to stay in Seattle for a week or two while he figured out what he wanted to do next.

At that time, many people were selling their floating homes because they knew it would cost them as much as they'd paid for the house to put in sewer lines. "They were getting out, and that was a good deal for me," Mack explained.

Back then, houseboats cost around $7,000, which was what he could afford. He used his savings from his time in the military to buy his home. People told him he wouldn't last more than a couple of years.

When Mack first moved in, the floating home community was different than it is today. "Students on the other side, students down the way," he remembered, "people that were  low or medium income. A few well to do, but not many. They didn't stay very long."

A lot of the houses were poorly constructed, and the water surrounding them was filled with sewage. When Mack's father's came to visit, he was not impressed. "He said he got me through private schools and I ended up in a shanty town. He was not happy about it, so he never came back."

"That's OK," Mack said. "He did what he wanted to do, and I did what I needed to do."

The city of Seattle wasn't enthusiastic about the houseboats, either. "We were considered dregs, I guess," said Mack, "and it was the citizens of Seattle that said wait a minute - we like those dregs. They're fun places. We like to bring our out-of-town guests to see the houseboat colonies."

"So we began to clean up the lake," explained Mack, "and suddenly it became quite the place to live. After that it was changed."

'It's Happening All Over Seattle, Not Just Here'

Prices for houseboats skyrocketed. Now a two-bedroom, two-bath home can top $975,000 - nearly 140 times the price Mack paid for his.

It took him years of repairs to make his houseboat into the home it is today. It's filled with objects from his travels and pieces salvaged from shipyards. His bed sits under the window. There's just enough space for one person to walk by.

Mack stayed, while other owners drifted away. New owners moved in to take their places. Now many of the houseboats belong to the young and affluent, including tech workers.

"It's getting different now," said Mack, "because they're coming in and thinking, 'what a good deal, we'll buy this and rent it out.' So you lose that continuity and I miss that."

"But that's Seattle," he added. "It's happening all over Seattle, not just here."

From Mack's back porch you can see construction cranes around the lake. The cityscape is changing. Some of the new houseboats are made of metal and look like they've come from a science fiction movie. There are homes with docks big enough to moor a yacht, and homes that have full rooftop gardens.

"The old ones are being destroyed. Probably, this will all be gone," Mack said.

Before he knew it, 45 years had passed and he still hadn't moved from his houseboat. "I just lived. Time just flew by. I just realized I was so old. I suddenly woke up and said, 'My god, I'm still here.'"

Mack's home is constantly moving along with the waves. But he remains, a symbol of steadiness.

"I haven't found any place I'd want to live more than here," he said. "I think if I left the houseboat, I'd want to leave Seattle."

RadioActive is KUOW's program for high school students. This story was produced in RadioActive’s Spring 2015 Workshop. Listen to RadioActive stories , subscribe to the RadioActive podcast and stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter .

Overcoming Hurdles To Be First In His Family To Go To College

From KUOW's RadioActive Youth Media | 05:27

"I visualize the race. All I’m thinking about is just silence. Dead silence.

"Then the gun goes off. I'm just trying to get to the finish line as quick as possible."

Christapherson Grant's life revolves around track. Since he was a high school freshman, his dream was to win a Washington state championship in track. This year, he achieved his dream, but he had to jump over a lot more than track hurdles to get there.

Chris_running_-_jacobostlund_small "I visualize the race. All I’m thinking about is just silence. Dead silence. "Then the gun goes off. I'm just trying to get to the finish line as quick as possible." Christapherson Grant's life revolves around track. Since he was a high school freshman, his dream was to win a Washington state championship in track. This year, he achieved his dream, but he had to jump over a lot more than track hurdles to get there.

Episode 3: Microbial Warfare

From Terrascope Radio | Part of the Measuring Marine Microbes series | 04:07

It's like gang warfare, but with really tiny gang members. Some microbes provide their relatives with protection, emitting antibiotics that kill off competitors. Who knew that even single-celled organisms could have social structure?

Microbe_war_2_small It's like gang warfare, but with really tiny gang members. Some microbes provide their relatives with protection, emitting antibiotics that kill off competitors. Who knew that even single-celled organisms could have social structure? Produced with funding from the National Science Foundation.

The Karaoke Singer

From Sophie McKibben | 06:52

Meet Jstar, the sexagenarian karaoke singer. After raising 7 kids, surviving abuse, and overcoming alcoholism, Jstar (aka Joyce Korsak) became a regular on the Providence karaoke scene.

Img_5055_1250-300x300_small Meet Jstar, the sexagenarian karaoke singer. After raising 7 kids, surviving abuse, and overcoming alcoholism, Jstar (aka Joyce Korsak) became a regular on the Providence karaoke scene.