I began working with young writers, artists and photographers on a weekly basis in 1994. My involvement grew over time and now I give several hours each day to YJI. Working with students at Youth Journalism International is among the most rewarding things I've ever done in my life. These young people are bright, talented, compassionate and eager to learn. We set high expectations for them, from ethics to storytelling and they consistently deliver. Through serious news stories, feature writing and reviews as well as first person journaling about such diverse topics as high school life, Hurricane Katrina, family travel to an ancestral homeland and fasting for Ramadan, YJI students offer the world a new perspective. They are the future of journalism, a field which badly needs an infusion of good young people. But they are so much more. YJI students have also gone into law, medicine, teaching, homemaking, computer technology, social work and more. We are very proud of each of them. Many alumni stay involved and help younger students. No matter the field they choose, they all gain confidence in themselves by conducting interviews and writing powerful stories. They learn that they, too, have a voice, and they learn how to use it effectively. One of the most rewarding parts of leading this wonderful organization is seeing the many friendships that develop between YJI students around the globe. Without YJI, these young people would have a narrower world view and something would be missing from their lives -- the friends they met and the perspective they gained by getting to know young journalists in other countries, from cultures and religions other than their own. It's extremely gratifying to see understanding and then bonds of friendship develop between them. YJI students and YJI alumni have spirit, energy and great ideas. They give me great hope for the future and for a peaceful world. I can't imagine my life without them.
In my country India, the awareness about journalism education at high school level, a stepping stone, is too low. I was meandering in my quest for guidance and I came across YJI. I think, YJI gave me more than just guidance, it came as a godsend. First of all, Jackie Majerus and Steve Collins are inspirational. Handling hundreds of students across the globe is no ordinary task. Secondly, the professional approach with the mix of values has incentivized journalism education. Thirdly, intra-organization interaction infuses motivation and a strong desire to perform. Although, we are miles away from each other, I feel that my editors are with me. Fourthly, YJI is globalisation incarnate. The fact that today I have friends in Afghanistan and US and potential friends all across the globe speaks for it. The diversity of views and ideas is really enriching. Finally, YJI has given a forum to the teens from across the globe and in the process tapped a huge resource.
In 2008 I needed an internship for my high school, but opportunities for young journalists or reporters are extremely rare in my area. I searched everywhere for something that would work. One day, I found the Tattoo online and sent them an email asking to be involved. A few months later I heard back from YJI, which was a new organization at the time. I jumped at the chance to work with them and it has been great. Although I don't write as much as I used to, it has been wonderful writing articles and working with the other talented students involved in YJI. I don't think I could have had an experience like this anywhere else; you get to interact with kids from all over the world, do something you love, and feel like part of something amazing.
I am Mariechen Puchert, from South Africa. I started writing with YJI in 2008, my final year of high school. I have always loved writing and discovering YJI was like a dream come true. In 2009 I started my studies at Medical School and the ability to carry on writing for YJI enabled me to maintain my sanity to a large extent. There is very little space for creativity at med school and even though I may not be studying journalism, literature or law, writing is still integral to my life. YJI does not only take your pieces and publish them. The editors work with you from the moment you decide to write something. When you send them your piece, they edit it and send it back to you with comments and advice for future writing. Before joining I was a very good poetry and prose writer, but what I knew about journalism and objective reporting was limited to what I learnt in school. Two years later, those skills have been sharpened. A great thing about YJI is that everyone is connected via the internet and the group often does packages. In 2008 we did a package on the Beijing Olympics and the Presidential Elections in the USA. These kind of projects enabled us as well as our audience to experience a myriad of different views and effects in different countries. I believe this fosters international understanding and co-operation at a most crucial level. In June 2010, I travelled to North America and was hosted by YJI for two days. I got to meet many of the people involved with YJI - editors, journalists and alumni. I know that YJI has done this for their foreign students before and that they will do it again when possible. This is also a great growth experience for young journalists.
Hi, I'm Nicole Megan Gounder from South Africa,and I'm currently a student reporter for Youth Journalism International. I joined YJI towards the mid-year of 2009.I was currently 6 months out of high school doing my first semester at university.Like any other varsity student, I was clueless as to what I wanted to do with my life, but YJI helped me realise that my true passion lies in media. It's not just an organisation for teen writers.It's much more than that. Jackie and Steve do a great job of getting to know us,which makes it easier to share our thoughts and stories with the rest of the world. Three years ago, I would have never imagined myself taking the journalism route. Youth Journalism International is a great platform for writers all across the globe to get to know each other,share their thoughts,cultures and news regardless of race,gender or nationality ! Behind this organsition are the most amazing mentors who help and guide you with the stories you have to share. It was a stepping stone for me and I'm sure it will be for future teen journalists!
I never fail to feel inspired when I think about how far Youth Journalism International has come. It all started in 1994 with Jackie and Steve, two reporters in Bristol, Connecticut, who volunteered in their free time to teach local teens about journalism. That, in and of itself, would have been a tremendous achievement in a world where teens are often hard pressed to find an outlet for their creativity, intelligence, and ambition. But it soon became clear that the organization could – and should – become much more. Teens around the globe started reading American students’ work online and emailing requests to join. Seemingly overnight, YJI changed from a weekly journalism workshop in Connecticut into a global organization teaching students not just about reporting, but about the common bonds that unite all people across all national boundaries. Thanks to my involvement with YJI, I have been privileged to email, speak with and even meet young people from all over the world. I do not exaggerate when I say that nothing fills me with pride and hope for humanity’s future the way this organization and its students do. Certainly, students who work hard learn a lot about reporting and writing. But just as valuable, if not more so, are the intercultural friendships the group cultivates. I can think of no better forum than YJI for young people to teach each other about their respective worlds – about how they think, and feel, and live; about what makes us all different, but more importantly, about what makes us the same. And I can think of no better way than that for the world at large to begin working toward peace. It has been an honor to work with the bright, talented, kind young people who have made YJI a part of their lives. I hope they are as proud of themselves as their editors are of them, and I hope to work with them for many years to come.
Youth Journalism International is a platform for the new generation to evolve their voices from each corner of the globe; the voices that come with innovation, truth and opinions of youthfulness. YJI has been working to value the works of youth not only in the Journalism category, but in all other categories by spreading about their talent and their values effectively. YJI has been acting and would continue to bring cross cultural understanding between the youths of the nations which would definitely broaden up the scope of globalization. Since one of the core agenda for YJI has been focusing for a peaceful world through dialogue and understanding, it would certainly induce the new generation whom would act as the leaders of tomorrow to always consider the peacefulness of issues. As YJI gives awareness to the youth and world about the youth, it won’t be far away for YJI to become the world’s best source of information principally in regard to the youth’s perspective. I joined YJI in 2005 when I was in my teenage and I got amazed from the work of teens that had covered topics such as guidance for high school to issues of 9/11, biased journalism or travel articles. Initially I was naÃ¯ve in writing, but the motivation and supports that were generously provided by the founders of the organization STEVE Collins and Jackie Majerus enriched me with a massive interest for writing and Journalism. With the great experiences and the mass of knowledge I have learned since I got associated with YJI, currently I feel proud for being listed as the member of the Board of directors of this great organization. My interest, support and loyalty would exist as long as the concept of YJI would exist.
I joined this organization at a young age. But right from the start, the board and staff helped me feel welcome and encouraged me with each and every one of my pieces. They also gave me numerous opportunities to write pieces and provided me with the means to access people and places I couldn't by myself. This is not like some paper set up so kids could just write what they want to. This is REAL, professional journalism that provides news by teens that teens can use. It more than adequately prepares adolescents for taking on a career in journalism. It also gives teens great experiences that they could not have anywhere else. Some of my highlights of working with Youth Journalism International have been sitting in the press box with big newspaper correspondents and TV Reporters at an Obama rally, talking with CT Democratic senatorial candidate Ned Lamont and interviewing CT Senator Joe Lieberman while riding on his tour bus; all of this before I even turned sixteen. No other organization could do that.
From economic problems to serious ecological hazards happening in the world today, our quality of life as we know it is under constant threat. That's why it's refreshing and relieving to know, first hand, that there is an organization out there who devotes it's energy into a positive cause in the most genuine manner. Youth Journalism International is doing a wonderful public service by expanding the voice of journalism to sources you won't be able to find in your run of the mill, agenda driven media today. I have had the privilege to personally get to know the founders of YJI, and I am honored to say that they are great friends of mine. The work they have done so far should serve as a template for other nonprofit organizations on how to conduct themselves. With the economy on the brink of shambles, it's hard to trust a reliable source for anything without feeling like someone is out to rip you off for their own personal gain. YJI is as pure and genuine as it gets, as they bring light to voices and readers from all around the world of all walks of life. Their efforts in the global community should be commended, and they will always have my full support and loyalty to help with the group.
I'm Cara and I've been with YJI since September 2009. When I joined I wasn't sure what to expect, but it's been better than I could've ever imagined. I don't know any organization like this: truly committed to young people, journalism and, not at all least important, cultural exchange. It's not simply an organization that teaches young people about journalism and provides them with a place to publish their articles. It's so much more. It's about learning about yourself and the world, too. It's a way to break barriers and to make young people care about people who are thousands of miles away. And isn't that one of the things we need most in this age where divisions become ever deeper and fear creeps into everyones life in one way or another? Where will we be if we stop caring about the voices of people like us, whether they live right across the corner or in a place we'll never visit. It doesn't always just have to be doom and gloom and seriousness to have an impact. It might just as well be about sports and hobbies. The realization that other people share the same hopes for the future is one of the most precious gifts for a human being anywhere. This is exactly what YJI is doing: making people get together and start understanding each other. You don't have to agree with someone to respect and understand them. By giving young people a voice YJI helps build a world with more understanding. Jackie, Steve and Katie are amazing and committed people. I'm so glad there are people like them around. It means a lot to me they're so devoted to this organization and encourage their students to improve their skills. If I hadn't found YJI I may not know yet what I know now: I want to be a journalist. Without YJI I wouldn't have had this amazing experience. Joining YJI is one of my best decisions so far.
My name is Eugenia, I'm from Italy and I'm a Senior Reporter in YJI from 2008. YJI is a great organization managed by a skilled team which allows young people from all over the world to enter the world of journalism and learn valuable journalism. I've learned a lot, I've improved my language skills and, last but not the least, I've known many amazing people from all the countries who I really hope to meet sometime.
My name is Jenna, and I'm a junior reporter for Youth Journalism International. YJI has given me support, guidance and confidence throughout my time with them. They've helped me improve my writing and communication skills in the stories I've written for them, and have also indirectly improved my writing and communication skills at school. YJI has given me the confidence I need to get my foot in the door in the journalism world, and to plan ahead for a future career. I'm looking forward to improving my skills and having lots of fun with YJI for years to come.