In Their Own Words: Youth Narrating Our World Launches 1st Convening in Chicago

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At the first convening of the Youth Narrating Our World greenhouse program in Chicago at McCormick Foundation headquarters, 16 students from four Chicago public high schools met to discuss, learn and engage in lively activities about the nature of credibility and the importance of voice in the larger public conversation.

The OpEd Project’s Michele Weldon and Deborah Douglas are leading the three-month mentoring program for these students from Young Women’s Leadership Academy, Lindblom Math & Science Academy, Walter Payton College Prep High School and Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep. Students participating were selected through an essay contest available to hundreds of students at the high schools. Below are two reactions from participants:

The first meeting for The OpEd Project’s Youth Narrating Our World was eye-opening.  In my 17 years of living, never have I ever been in a position where I felt like I was in control. Many dream of being a strong influence in the world, many wish to accomplish something that will imprint this  world forever, but this program  gives one the opportunity to do just that.

At the end of the day, our bodies, our thoughts, and even our lives are temporary, but our words…words on paper shall be preserved. Youth Narrating Our World allows us, as youth of Chicago, to change the world with our diction and courage. The first day went very smoothly, and empowered us to realize our effect on the world.

 –  Mia Resa is a junior at Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep and wants to be a pediatrician/activist/emergency medical technician.

After one session, I am confident the OpEd Project is preparing me to become a true thought-leader.  The OpEd Project is giving youth the chance to voice their valuable opinions through their writing abilities and more.  This program is helping me realize the power of sharing my truths with the entire world.  I am African-American and female, a group whose voice is underrepresented in the media and society.  Despite all of this, I have to realize the value of my contributions to the public.

–  Kaylynn Cusic is a junior at Young Women’s Leadership Academy in Chicago.  She plans to study biomedical engineering in college.



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