The Youth Media Advocacy Project (YMAP) empowers teens to express their own voices, particularly on education reform and the school environment, through the media.
The Youth Media Advocacy Project (YMAP) is a collaboration between Carlow University and Greater Pittsburgh Student Voices. The project, which began in 2010, provides students with the knowledge, skills, and support to use the media to influence education policy decisions that impact their daily lives. Carlow University students and high school students work together to garner earned media coverage, and also create and place high quality paid media such as print ads and radio spots.
Carlow students are trained in media industry and practice, education issues and policies, and advocacy skills. Then, each Carlow student works with a group of high school students in Pittsburgh Public Schools or surrounding school districts to develop an advocacy project. The student groups consult with media professionals on their work. Also, they meet with education or civic leaders to present their plan for change in education.
Media advocacy is a powerful tool for focusing public and institutional attention on problems and potential solutions. It also functions as an organizing tool to increase public participation; in this case, to promote participation among youth in education reform. The project provides the Carlow and high school students with a powerful learning, mentoring, and advocacy experience.
The American Friends' Service Committee of Pittsburgh's Racial Justice through Human Rights (RJTHR) group is made up of youth from city, suburban, charter and private schools. In fall 2012 the YMAP students created this powerful video to highlight and remark on the differences in the ways education was being delivered to them, and wanted to make a video to make people aware of this issue. Given current education budget cuts that the students feel exacerbate inequities in education, the students want to reach opinion leaders and decision-makers with the students' side of the story.