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Music keeps California teens off the streets

Richmond, a small city in Northern California just outside of San Francisco, is known for two things: rap music and gang violence, which often leads to drive-by shootings and homicides.

But on Richmond’s southern edge, there’s a building called the RYSE Youth Center. The center was opened to give youth a safe haven from the realities of the streets.

Twenty-year-old Xavier Polk has taken full advantage of the opportunity and introduced a free music production class where he helps teenagers develop their musical talents – and stay off the streets and out of trouble.

Listen to the report by Anne Hofmann and Aaron Mendelson in Richmond, California:

Xavier Polk teaches a free beatmaking class at the RYSE Youth Center to inspire teenagers musically and help them to stay out of trouble (Photo: A. Mendelson)

Xavier Polk teaches a free beatmaking class at the RYSE Youth Center (Photo: A. Mendelson)

15-year-old Janelle Thomas is working on her own track in Xavier's class

Fiften-year-old Janelle Thomas is working on her own track in Xavier’s class (Photo: A. Mendelson)

Student Emandre Winston uses the keyboard connected to the music production software at RYSE to work on his own track (Photo: A. Mendelson)

Student Emandre Winston uses the keyboard connected to the music production software to work on his own track in Xavier’s class (Photo: A. Mendelson)

The mural on the outside of the RYSE Youth Center in Richmond, California (Photo: A. Mendelson)

The mural on the outside of the RYSE Youth Center in Richmond, California, where Xavier teaches his beatmaking class to give teenagers a safe haven (Photo: A. Mendelson)

 

Date

Wednesday 06.08.2014 | 08:59

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Seattle mapmaker protects local land

Ben Hughey makes maps. As a kid growing up in Alaska, he used a GPS to hike off-trail. Then, as a college junior, he combined his GPS skills with his mapmaking ability to help three indigenous communities in Ecuador create maps of their lands, which they’ll use to defend themselves against future land incursions.

Now, at age 25, Ben is using mapmaking to try to get people on board land conservation projects in Washington State, in the north-western United States.

Listen to the report by Eilís O’Neill in Seattle:

Ben Hughey stands next to the biggest map he’s ever made - a two-meter-tall, five-meter-wide map of the Mountains to Sound Greenway (Photo: E. O'Neill)

Ben Hughey stands next to the biggest map he’s ever made – a two-meter-tall, five-meter-wide map of the Mountains to Sound Greenway (Photo: E. O’Neill)

Ben's pictured here taking a GPS point with his smart phone (Photo: E. O'Neill)

Ben’s pictured here taking a GPS point with his smart phone (Photo: E. O’Neill)

Ben is showing reporter Eilís O'Neill that they're not lost (Photo: E. O'Neill)

Ben is showing reporter Eilís O’Neill that they’re not lost (Photo: E. O’Neill)

Ben is an avid bike rider - and his good sense of navigation comes in handy (Photo: E. O'Neill)

Ben is an avid bike rider – and his good sense of navigation comes in handy (Photo: E. O’Neill)

 

 

 

 

Date

Tuesday 18.02.2014 | 13:26

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The power of words

Writing can sometimes be like pulling teeth, especially if you’re a kid. Luckily there’s a creative writing place for children where missing teeth is no big thing. Welcome to 826 Valencia, a nonprofit organization (and pirate supply store) where 23-year-old Amy Langerer shares her own passion for writing.

Amy is one of many volunteers at 826 Valencia, which helps teachers inspire students to write, through after school programs, in-class tutoring, evening and weekend workshops, and collaborative story-writing sessions. Any one can help and any kid can sign up. In its 10th year, 826 Valencia has generated so much buzz and a lengthy waiting list. Other cities across the United States have also adopted the same model, with 826 National programs in Ann Arbor, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle and Washington, DC.

Listen to the report by Melanie Sevcenko:

The power of words

Learn more about 826 Valencia on its website.

Date

Tuesday 31.01.2012 | 13:56

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Stand-up comedy teacher spreads confidence

Bryan Bowden is a teacher and a rebel. In his classroom, kids are encouraged to raise their voices, instead of their hands. By teaching stand-up comedy, Bryan helps his students discover their talents.

Bryan Bowden

Listen to the report

Check out Bryan’s blog.

Date

Wednesday 10.08.2011 | 14:49

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