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Cultivating the Next Generation of Creatives

HOW ADOBE YOUTH VOICES CHANGED MY MINDSET TOWARDS EDUCATION…

My mentor Mr. Schmidt, who was an Adobe Lead Educator at Central County Occupational Center, told our video production class about the Adobe Youth Voices film camp. He showed us some of the work that participants made in previous years, and he told us it was extremely selective – hat only four out of thirty of us could attend. I was determined to be a part of it. I was passionate about making movies, and this seemed like a great place to meet and work with other students my age who had the same passion.

“Before I was granted this opportunity, I was failing school and any talk about jobs irritated me.”

Before I was granted this opportunity, I was failing school and any talk about jobs irritated me. I wanted to get good grades, and I did… for about the first three weeks of school, but after that I fell into a vicious cycle. At home I couldn’t get myself to do my homework. This led me to being too embarrassed to go to school without my homework the next day, so I ditched class. I would hide in the library or in the bathroom stall and wait for the class to be over. After that even if I was magically able to motivate myself to do that night’s homework, I would not have had the assignment, because I was not in class that day.

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The more days I ditched, the more of a conflict it became, the bigger the fight with my parents, the more my teachers would interrogate me, the more my classmates dismissed me as a lonely pothead and the more I was ashamed of myself for not solving this problem and becoming a normal student. I almost broke down every time I had to face my school. They mistook my glazed eyes for being high – even my dad thought I was a pothead. I just went with it. It was a better rep than being a crybaby with teary eyes all the time.

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“At the AYV program at CCOC, I learned how to apply myself. I was harbored in an environment where I was able to focus on what I was passionate about.”

This made my future dark, because I felt like I would never be happy if I couldn’t enjoy my day to day job. At the AYV program at CCOC, I learned how to apply myself. I was harbored in an environment where I was able to focus on what I was passionate about. I was inspired to work harder than I ever had before. There was no pressure on me from anyone else. If I didn’t do the work, I knew that it was a missed opportunity, but no big deal. I started to see the rest of my classes that way. I realized that “getting in trouble” for not doing my work didn’t matter, and the only thing that mattered was what I could gain from these classes. I asked myself if it was important to graduate, and I believed it was. So I did. I worked plans out with my teachers, and I graduated on time for myself, and only myself.

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“I will never forget my mentors Jeff Schmidt, Alex Yamamoto, and all of the wonderful people who volunteered at Adobe Youth Voices.They guided me through one of the most difficult times of my life, and fought for the resources I needed to do what I was passionate about.”

On paper the normal school system had all of the things that I needed. It had a counselor, college guidance, and it had multimedia and theater courses. Everything was there for me, and yet, I still slipped through the cracks. I could not figure out how to conform to that system, and nobody bothered trying to help me. That is why youth education programs such as AYV and CCOC are so important to me. I will never forget my mentors Jeff Schmidt, Alex Yamamoto, and all of the wonderful people who volunteered at Adobe Youth Voices.They guided me through one of the most difficult times of my life, and fought for the resources I needed to do what I was passionate about – including a full tuition scholarship for my choice in a creative major. Today I am attending my third year at Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and I have been a professional freelance editor for two years. I like editing, and I could be happy doing it professionally for the rest of my life, but filmmaking isn’t my only passion anymore.

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I discovered a new passion of mine while working for AYV, which was to fill the role I so desperately needed when I was a teenager. I enjoy providing resources for teaching and guiding teens on a path towards a happy life. So far, I have worked at AYV Summit 2013 as a creative insider, judged for Adobe Youth Awards, co-hosted AYV Live 2015, and volunteered at a local AYV site in San Jose.  I hope to redirect and pay forward the overwhelming support I received during my time at AYV Film Camp 2012 and 2013 to future participants of Adobe Youth Voices.

By Zachery James
Motion Picture & Television Major
Academy of Art University SF 
Adobe Youth Voices Alum
Email:Louisis898@gmail.com
Phone:(408)915-9117
Facebook: @ZacheryJames
Instagram: @louisis898

					
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After 9 Year’s Of Adobe Youth Voices, This Is How I’m Paying It Forward…

The first calling I received from Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) was a low thumping kick that shook the walls as I entered the room at a local Boys & Girls Club, and it was followed by an old rusty snare that traveled directly through my ears into my young but steadfast brain that glued to the vision of me becoming  a talented music producer in the near future. That day was my passion’s awakening. No one had to sell me on the idea of an after-school program, the requirements, or what commitments the program entailed, I just wanted my hands to meet their destiny for the first time and demonstrate to my peers the musician I had been aching to become. I was 15 years young when I first warmed up my audio engineering seat, fully immersed, I sat in the recording studio as time moved fast yet I felt like I could never get enough. In a blink of an eye, 9 years went by and that same passion that gave me purpose as a teenager still resides in the blood that pumps through my body.325365_293338764032461_1311236716_o

“AYV introduced me to an extended family that loved to feed me knowledge about a digital arts world that I loved and shared every moment of growth alongside of me.”

My continuous desire to create with the tools provided by AYV gave me a sense of belonging to a culture of creatives and the responsibility of learning self-discipline to empower myself in all aspects of personal growth. In order to develop into a successful musician, there were a few things I needed to prioritize and complete before having the opportunity to work in the recording studio. The program staff knew exactly how to provide the guidance I needed through High School, professional development as a teen staff, and the daily encouragement I needed to chase a competitive dream that many others hoped to achieve as well. The relationship I established with my lead educator at the time is a relationship compared to those I call close family. AYV introduced me to an extended family that loved to feed me knowledge about a digital arts world that I loved and shared every moment of growth alongside of me.

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“One song at a time, I was able to make an impact on a younger generation that inspired to be the voices heard across their communities.”

I personally believe my biggest contribution for the AYV program came as an adult when I became a Lead Educator myself. No longer a member, I transitioned into a Youth Arts Coordinator position with a unique perspective because of my history with AYV at MACLA in San Jose. I knew the things I loved about the program as a youth, what motivated me, what challenged me, and what kept me coming back for more. That knowledge was the main factor to the decision making behind my approach to my program.  I knew the music abilities I was blessed with would be the driving force that would naturally gravitate youth to connect with me. One song at a time, I was able to make an impact on a younger generation that inspired to be the voices heard across their communities. We performed during our in-house showcase events to inspire our younger members, we had several opportunities to perform around the community like the Raconteurs show with over 400 hundred people in attendance, and even rocked stages from state to state opening for acts like J Cole in Florida during national youth conferences.

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“I plan to continue educating youth through the arts in becoming leaders and advocates of their communities by transforming their surroundings into a land of opportunities and being prepared for that moment.”

I wouldn’t change a thing about my experience with AYV. Looking back at specific moments like when Jose “Lalo” Saavedra and Vanessa Fuentes (youth I personally mentored) received an AYV scholarship to a college of their choice were especially unforgettable because I remember the gratitude and love their families expressed for our entire program. This was a blessing in so many way to their families, each of their families now had positive role model to guide their younger siblings and cousins through the same path. The word community took an entire different meaning after my encounter with AYV. My artistic borders where limitless, and a new family of digital art professionals, youth, and educators where a phone call away. Furthermore, regardless of my location in the world, I know till this day that I can make a difference through digital arts and youth development. I plan to continue educating youth through the arts in becoming leaders and advocates of their communities by transforming their surroundings into a land of opportunities and being prepared for that moment. I would like to thank AYV for what it has done to me in the past decade, in helping me be prepared to make a difference today.  

By Ivan Martinez
Digital Academy & Youth Arts Education Coordinator @MACLA
Adobe Youth Voices Lead Educator
Web: http://maclaarte.org/programs/dmcstudio/
Email: ivan@maclaarte.org
ivanreyesmusic@gmail.com
Phone: (650)218-1225
Facebook: @IvanReyesMusic

How Adobe Youth Voices Changed My Teaching at Mt. Pleasant High School…

This blog is my attempt to call attention to the process and discovery in teaching media to young, gifted and minority students. Mt. Pleasant High School is located on the far edge of Silicon Valley in an area known as the East Side. This area of San José includes the largest neighborhoods of working class Mexican and Mexican Americans in San José, the 10th largest city in the U.S. My students are more than the statistics would point to and are dedicated, creative and inquisitive, and are striving to overcome poverty and racism in order to forge better lives for themselves and their families. I am proud to say that I am grateful to Adobe Youth Voices, for giving my students the platform and opportunity to voice and tell their stories and their histories.

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Through our program’s partnerships with Adobe Youth Voices( AYV), an organization dedicated to supporting youth media, the program has offered a variety of opportunities to my students. AYV has helped my students transform their ideas into media work, and become active participants in society and owners of meaningful work. The work is reflective, innovative and representative of the diversity of young people who are eager to tell their own stories. Students’ films have screened at the local AYV Live Event, San Jose International Short Film Festival, CreaTV Awards and at United Nations. My students are recipients of the Adobe Scholarship and finalists and winners of the Adobe Youth Voices Award for the past four years. AYV inspired and supported the youth in my program in developing and nurturing their creative spirit, and connecting my youth both to their local community and to a global community of young creators.

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“AYV changed my teaching and in the process of change has touch each of my students in profound way charting new paths in their lives.”

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AYV changed my teaching and in the process of change has touched each of my students in a profound way, charting new paths in their lives. I remember the first professional training at Adobe Youth Voices, being exposed to youth media pedagogy, and from then on I was hooked. I learned the key to understanding youth media making is knowing I was part of a larger community of artists, teachers, educators, and youth leaders collaborating, sharing, and exhibiting youth media around the nation and the world. I learned that youth media was not only a product, but also a process that engages young people in critical analysis, social activism, collaboration, and leadership. Youth media as a genre of public media has more than 30 years of pedagogy developed by artistic, social, political, cultural, and educational movements, and now my students and I are a part of this greater community. AYV taught me youth media centers on engaging youth in exploration of personal and community issues, while simultaneously developing a culture of participation and critical thinking. My students become more reflexive, innovative, and eager to tell their own stories. AYV has helped me developed my own instructional practices, leading to my youth gaining media skills and learning how to create, find their voice, and tell their stories. The AYV experience has helped my students contribute to the youth media genre thorough film, video, animation, and digital media.

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This year I have 36 students in my media two class, making this the largest class I have ever taught in my 16 years of teaching. The class has grown because of the exciting opportunities AYV has provided. The question this year is, How will I teach to such a large audience of students? I thought about it and knew I would teach the course differently this year. I used the strength in numbers as a good thing. The idea was to transform the class into a mini production company, where the students become the active participants in their own media production. Positivity came to mind, and as a class we came up with the idea of calling the class “36 Strong.”

“Engaging young people in this way takes advantage of the media-rich environment in which they now live.”

The first project I gave to my class of 36 was to design a logo for our production company, 36 Strong. I felt the class needed a push towards collaboration and knew this would help with team building and collegiality between the students. I was blown away by the creative energy my students brought to this brainstorming project. Each design was unique and expressed a concept of what 36 Strong could be. Next, students took their sketches and some students scanned their drawings or took a photo and others used Adobe’s new app Shape to vectorize and upload their sketch. Then each student posted their work to their portfolio, using Behance, which is an online portfolio for creative content producers. Engaging young people in this way takes advantage of the media-rich environment in which they now live.

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Now we are moving into film production as a class. The students are in teams of five and will soon start writing their own story for a short silent film. But first, I have them viewing media clips with the hope they’ll become media observers and commentators.

I want to end this blog with the idea that your own instructional practices can help your youth gain skills and a voice in their communities, and will contribute to the growth of the youth media genre.

By Will Cavada
Media Arts Teacher
Adobe Youth Voices Lead Educator
Mt. Pleasant High School
Email: CavadaW@esuhsd.org
Twitter & Instagram: @AYVwithUS

					

How Adobe Youth Voices Impacted My Classroom at Willow Glen High School

Back to School night is a great opportunity for parents to get a glimpse into the time that their children spend at school. As I present my course overview and the accomplishments of the students over the past several years I reflect on the many highlights of participating in the Adobe Youth Voice program and the opportunities it has offered my students. The images of enthusiastic students working cooperatively on video projects during the AYV film camps, the excitement of a field trip during career day at Adobe and the many other AYV highlights of the school year illustrate student success.

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Several of my students are Adobe scholarship recipients and AYV Award finalists and winners. These opportunities have been life changing experiences for these students who have gone on to higher education and pursue their dreams. The 21 century skills required for students to be successful include collaboration, cooperation, problem solving, self-direction & social responsibility. These skills are encouraged and nurtured in the Adobe Youth Voice program.

Krumm_Claire_P.5 (2)The AYV experience has ignited a passion within the Arts for many of my students, because of the Adobe Youth Voice program the student’s voice and story are shared on a global platform. These connections with the local and global community has inspired my students to participate in public art installations and media campaigns that make a difference. The AYV program has been influential in my curriculum and the concept of “Create with Purpose” will continue as students make a difference in their community.

By Sandra Holland
Multimedia Teacher
Adobe Youth Voices Lead Educator
Willow Glen High School
Email: sholland@sjusd.org
Twitter: @sandra_digiart

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