It is easy for preventionists to forget that youth risktaking can be a positive too. Case in point: Cristal DePietro and the youth-runradio show she helped to develop. After being a guest on iCRVradio.com,DePietro, the Prevention Coordinator at Youth and Family Services ofHaddam-Killingworth, proposed to the hosts that they create a radio show completelyrun by students. They jumped at the chance and the Young Achievers show wasborn.
The show, online weekly for 30 minutes since February 2017,is totally controlled by students from Haddam-Killingworth. They determine thetopic, write interview questions, and invite their peers from other communitiesin the lower CT River Valley to be guests on the program. The show has twogoals: 1) to highlight students who do extraordinary things that don’t always receivethe credit they deserve and 2) to address youth issues in a meaningful way. Thestudents invite their guests to stick around after being interviewed to talkabout hot button topics, such as the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why and youthsuicide.
DePietro says that the best part about the program is that itgives youth a platform to talk about the things they are most passionate about.She notes that “youth don’t always have their voice heard and the show is agreat way to make that happen. We need to value youth as the #1 reason we’reinvolved in prevention and make them competent, proud, and invested inprevention and advocacy.” She and the student hosts, Joe, Jordan, and Nicole,were thrilled to find out this week that the program has been picked up fornext year!
For communities looking to engage youth in meaningful ways,DePietro offers these words of wisdom:
The success of theYoung Achievers show is due to…
The challenges wehave faced:
One piece of advicefor other adults guiding youth initiatives:
Young Achievers is always looking to highlight students fromother towns. Contact Cristal DePietro (firstname.lastname@example.org)if you know of a young leader deserving of recognition!