M.E.S.S. Schedule and Program Descriptions


*Schedule may be subject to changes.


M.E.S.S. Workshop Descriptions

SLB Audio Workshop

Podcasts and Internet radio are on the rise as effective, artful, and inexpensive way to share stories, opinions, and more. In fact, it may be the best way. Learn the skills to create professional audio pieces from the world around you. Hone your skills using microphones and digital recorders, as well as the software used to create.

Teen Bloc: Addressing Educational Inequities

TeenBloc's organizers will discuss about how they identified educational injustice in Pittsburgh and how they begin to address some of these inequities through their We Deserve to Be Served Campaign.  The workshop facilitators will challenge their peers to engage in social justice work through becoming an ally of TeenBloc or seeding their own work. 

Learn how to make an impact in the world through film!

Student filmmaker and Temple University student, Alexis Werner will teach you the process of filmmaking she learned while producing her documentary, "Our Way Home.” During the hour long presentation you will learn the steps in coming up with an idea, interviewing skills, how to find funding, and what to do when your project is complete. This innovative workshop will leave you with the knowledge and resources to create a film about a cause you are passionate about!

PFYM Animation Workshop

Learn how to use animation to make your voice heard. Pittsburgh Filmmakers Youth Media Teaching Artist Jayla Patton will present a variety of techniques for making short animations using tablets and apps. Animations using drawings, photographs, found objects and people will be screened and demonstrated in this hands-on workshop. Free apps, strategies for creating soundtracks, and sharing to the web will be covered.

Student-Led Change in the Civil Rights Movement

Be inspired by the students who have led the Civil Rights movement in the United States. Every successful social justice and civil rights movement in the United States has included strong student voices and legal action. Learn about Barbara Johns, a high school student who led a walk out protesting segregation in 1951, and the students who came before her and those who follow in her footsteps.

10-minute talks: Teen Changemakers

In these 10-min talks from teens, they will show you how they took control over student issues, demonstrate leadership, or stand up for their rights. Come with questions on how you can make your own change!
1. Teens for Change: Funding for Youth-led Social Change Projects

2. "Breaking school policy": Passive Resistance

3. Organizing TEDxYouth@HMB

4. Pittsburgh Student Activist Coalition: Mayor Peduto and Youth Policy

Media Literacy: Media Breaker

Does the news reflect your point of view?  In this session, we’ll use the LAMP’s Media Breaker to deconstruct what media is and put our own spin on it.

Bullying: real stories, real hope

In the last decade, students have become more educated about the many facets of bullying and schools have adopted anti-bullying policies and programs. However, for those who have experienced bullying firsthand, an educational program can never quite convey how bullying can change the thoughts, emotions, actions and the very being of those affected. This session will give students the chance to share their stories, both how they hurt and how they healed. They will also engage in discussion about what they believe are the root causes of bullying in their communities and how they can affect change in the future.

Combatting the ISMs:

Do you feel frustrated with society’s perception of youth?  Are you tired of the negative, stereotypical images of youth that are many times projected by the media or portrayed in the movies?  While most youth are positive, contributing members of their community, this is not what’s always seen.  In this two part workshop we will explore how you can use your voice to combat the distorted images fueled by stereotypes, discrimination and isms (ageism, racism, sexism, and heterosexism). We will:

·      Define the isms

·      Share our own experiences

·      Discover how other youth across the nation are using their voice

·      Develop some strategies for counteracting these ISM

·      and connect you to local resources (people, organizations) to help you get your voice heard

Beyond the Museum: Teen Voices on Race & Identity

Hear from Pittsburgh teens who produced media projects in poetry, film and journalism to document youth experiences of race in Pittsburgh in response to the exhibit "RACE: Are We So Different?" at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Come check out our projects, share your story and discuss ideas for creative media as a tool to bring teen voices to the public and explore tough conversations in our communities.

Filmmaker Panel

Join professional filmmakers for this two-hour session to learn about documentary filmmaking and social causes.  Following presentations on their work, the filmmakers will engage in discussions about youth media-making and take questions in a Q&A.  The panel will be moderated by Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ Will Zavala.

Kirsi Jansa is an independent filmmaker and broadcast journalist who has shot all over the world. She will show an excerpt of most recent project, “Gas Rush Stories.”

Julie Sokolow is an award-winning independent filmmaker whose work has appeared at TIME, Huffington Post, and Boing Boing. Currently, Sokolow is directing her first documentary feature, Aspie Seeks Love.


1Hood Media (tentative)


Real College

A panel of college students will give the real scoop about transitioning to college, what no one really tells you about financial aid, and navigating new academic models and social groups.  This is a youth-only session, sorry!



Who is tabling at the MESS?

TeenBloc, Homeless Children's Education Fund, Port Authority, Outreach & Teen Services, August Wilson Education Project, Jefferson Awards, Center for Victims, PCTV21, Steeltown Entertainment Project, JustHarvest, Center for Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine Center of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, PNC Bank, Amachi Pittsburgh, The LABS at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Color Me Pittsburgh








Youth Voice Summit on November 8!

Celebrate youth voice at the Media Empowerment Student Summit on Saturday November 8, 2014.

Register here!

What is it?

A day long event to celebrate, learn new skills and meet with youth, artists, and experts.  Teens can connect with youth from Greater Pittsburgh to celebrate youth voice and learn about youth action, specifically to:

1) make/create media/art, 2) create community 3) participate in youth justice and rights conversations


FREE FOOD  |  FREE MUSIC  |  FREE STUFF


Who should come?

Teens – Artists – Media Artists – Youth Organizers – Student Councils – Youth adult allies – Teacher, parents, and more

Details:

Saturday November 8, 2014  9a – 6p, Registration and breakfast start at 8a

Carnegie Mellon University in Oakland – Newell-Simon Hall Atrium, 3rd Floor: link to Google Maps

Over 10 workshops on media production, art, or information on student rights!

Resource fair at lunch featuring information on college, employment, health services, and more!

Directions: 

Most 61/71/54 buses stop by CMU. Stops on Forbes Ave near the Carnegie Museum or at Hamburg Hall.  Newell-Simon Hall is behind Hamburg Hall.

Parking is available on the lot at Forbes and Morewood, free on weekends.

Need transportation? We can help!  Email info@hear-me.net

Want to run a session?   Volunteer?  Table at the fair?  Email info@hear-me.net


Pre-register here!

Don't forget to spread the word and invite your friends. 
FAQ:
Who is running this thing?
The MESS is a collaborative vision of the team at Hear Me at the CREATE Lab, Michelle King, Tom Akiva (University of Pittsburgh), Sydney Olberg (Teens4Change), Heather Harr (Student Voices), students at ECS, students at univiersities, and more.  But its really for YOU.  Want to be involved in planning?  Think your voice or POV isn't represented?  Hear Me is the point of contact. info@hear-me.net

Why is this happening?
Why not?  Young people have a unique and crucial voice that needs to be heard, and have the potential to make a big impact. Our organizers believe that giving youth permission to ask questions and create can lead to important answers. The Southwestern PA region is ripe with youth creating media, partnering with adults to create change, and using their voices to create agency.

What are some of the sessions?
All sessions are 1 hour long.  eens, experts, and activists in SWPA are presenting on topics like "Real Talk on Bullying,"  "Race and Responsibility,"  "Filmmaking,"  "Audio storytelling," "Stereotypes and -ISMs," and sessions on radio, hip-hop, and writing are in the works. 

What's a resource fair?
When teens ask us things like, "How do I take the bus without getting lost?" or "How can I find a job?" adults don't always have the answers. This fair is designed to tap volunteer experts to give free, no-strings-attached tips on survival skills that young adults need. 

How much is this thing?
It's free! 

I live far away and don't know how to get there.  Can you help?
Probably!  Email info@hear-me.net with details!




MESS is supported in part by the Hive Fund for Connected Learning at The Sprout Fund.

Teens speak out on mental health

Hear Me 101 Intern aims to share her story with mental health practitioners

Hear Me 101 Intern (Su' 2014) Juanita Suber created a presentation to facilitate discussion around Mental Health supports for teens in high school, specifically depression. Her presentation uses a film, "Teens, Depression, & Peer Pressure," that she produced with a group of her peers at the McKeesport Technology Center at McKeesport High School, in McKeesport, PA, to begin to show teen depression from their point of view. Juanita's moving presentation walks through her own personal experience and asks for caregivers to consider effective ways of aiding students and de-stigmatizing teen depression in schools. 

View Juanita's presentation (opens in new window)

To request Juanita to present at your event, please contact info@hear-me.net.

Hear Me is Hiring a Project Assistant

Hear Me is looking for a new team member! This is a great opportunity for the right person to work with students, promote youth voice in the region and work at the CREATE Lab.

View and apply for the position here.

Please share this posting with any qualified candidates.  The application period will end on August 29.
 

Sincerely,

Hear Me and the CREATE Lab

More than a Number

An Open Essay by 16-year-old Denis McCormick

“People like to say we need to prepare students for real life, and what I counter that with is why don’t we make schools like real life itself-bring experiences outside of school into the school environment.”

This is a powerful quote from young education activist Nikhil Goyal (pictured above),who inspired me to further question standardized testing. As a student, I understand the importance of tests to track the progress of schools and individuals, but students shouldn’t be ranked based on test scores. The multiple-choice format of testing is a simplistic and inefficient way of assessment. It doesn’t show who the students are.

For example, students shouldn’t be labeled as “advanced,” “proficient” or “basic,” based on their answers to test questions. Coming from a low ranked school, I’ve seen students score poorly on these tests; meanwhile they have valuable real-life problem solving skills. I know that some of the things we learn are useful, but when will I be challenged in real life to fill in bubbles?

Schools put so much emphasis on the multiple choice section of standardized tests, but in the real world nothing will be given to us on a Scantron sheet with a packet full of multiple choice questions. As students, we struggle to find value in the state assessment system.

When I found out that our school district ranking was 437 out of 500, I felt that the Pittsburgh Business Times article was wrong and other students had mixed emotions. Some people agreed with the ranking, while others were mad, hurt and disappointed. We took action to make people realize that we are more than a number ranked by a system that fails to measure our real qualities. We all asked, ”Does this really define us? Are we really this bad?” We quickly shot down this thought and said, “We are more complex than what a test says about us. We are more than a number.” Then we decided as a collective group (The Future is Mine) to interview people on this topic and see how they felt about being labeled as “437”

Watch my documentary "437" here.

The state should provide more than just numbers about the students and the school district. The writers at the Pittsburgh Business Times were given the statistics and they were doing what they were supposed to do.  The numbers don’t show anything about the students’ character or their community.

It is difficult to measure creativity and social involvement, but we should be ranked and defined by more than our test scores. We never get a chance to tell the true stories about our community and the quality of the people who live there. We are all held back by the statistics and we need to break the shackles of the “standardization” of our community and tell the real stories.

Denis McCormick is a junior at Steel Valley High School

Hear Me 101 Screening May 22, 2014

About 70 students, educators, parents, administrators and community members filled Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ Melwood Screening Room on May 22 for the 3rd annual Hear Me 101 Screening. 

The evening kicked off with light refreshments, food, and music from Professor ASAP of Tracksploitation.  The atmosphere was lively, as students were proud to share their work and others excited to watch.   The audience took their seats at 6:30 for documentaries from Clairton High School, McKeesport Technology Center, Steel Valley High School, the F.U.S.E. after school program, which includes students from Wilkinsburg High School and Imani Christian Academy and special guest, Jay Fyre from Philadelphia.

 Click here to watch the documentaries! (youtube link)

Topic Selection:

Students from McKeesport brainstormed and discussed a variety of topics before settling on three.  The focused on "Hip-hop in Education," "Video Gaming for Learning", and "Depression."  Students at Clairton selected two topics:  "Access to Technology Education," and "Girls Bullying."  The students gave a fresh perspective to bullying by focusing on bullying among middle schools girls.  The Steel Valley TFIM club wanted to explore ways that students are affected by "success" and "failure."  After wrestling with these ideas, they settled on tackling the school ratings systems by pointing out how it affects students, and adding more complex layers to the story of the 437-ranked school. 

A panel discussion followed the films and included panelists Emmai Alaquiva of Hip Hop on L.O.C.K., Amma Ababio, a student member of TeenBloc, and Patrick Dowd from Allies for Children.  Each panelist was given an opportunity to respond to the thought-provoking media, education and social questions posed by moderator, teacher and publisher Michelle King.  The discussion continued with participation and questions from the audience.

Alaquiva focused on building professional relationships, encouraging students to “make more deposits than withdrawals;” as he compared relationships to bank accounts.  He shared his story from homelessness to becoming and Emmy Award Winning producer, entrepreneur and mentor; and told students, “When you think outside the box, you change what’s in it.”

The youngest panelist, Amma Ababio reassured the students that their videos will make a difference and hailed the documentaries as part of a new civil rights movement.  She complemented the filmmakers on their dedication and critical thinking to address, and take steps to make positive change in their schools and communities.

(source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

As a former City-Councilman, Patrick Dowd was able to frame the conversation in a policy-driven manner.  He addressed how the PA ranking system, which ranked Steel Valley at 437, was most likely intended to help schools by addressing needs, but instead hurt the image lower ranking schools.  He noted that the documentaries are important because they can show policy makers the real impact of their policies and become a catalyst for change.

At the end of the night, the Hear Me 101 interns were announced.  The interns were chosen out of those who submitted applications to earn a spot as paid staff members of Hear Me to work on building awareness and support for their films.  The interns are as follows: 

Denis McCormick from Steel Valley, Juanita Suber from McKeesport, and Jeffrey McDonald from Clairton.  

Look for more from the interns this summer.  Hear Me and our partners would like to thank everyone who came out to the screening and everyone who helped make the videos possible!  

Share your pictures and thoughts on the screening:  @hear_me_project #hearme101 

Hear Me Goes to ALEC to Record Student Interviews

This blog was reposted from The Brashear Kids Association Blog, which can be found here:  http://www.brashearkids.com/2014/05/hear-me-comes-to-alec-to-record-student.html

Hear Me Comes to ALEC to Record Student Interviews

Hear Me, an initiative of the CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University, came to the Allentown Learning and Engagement Center (ALEC) to record our students' thoughts about the Pittsburgh Police.  ALEC is located next door to the Zone 3 Police Station. Interactions with the police are part of our students' daily lives. 




Through this collaborative campaign with Allies for Children, students from all over the city of Pittsburgh had the opportunity to record their responses to such questions as, "What is the job of a police officer?" and "How would you describe your relationship with police officers?"  Once all the responses are recorded and edited, Hear Me will present them to Mayor William Peduto to help inform the selection of the new Chief of Police.  




Students at ALEC listened to their interviews  and then interviewed one another.  They had such a great time sharing their stories with Jess and Ryan of Hear Me, and we can't wait to share the final edit. 



Hear Me is a collaborative network of community organizations, institutions, businesses and foundations working together to provide a better future for our kids. Through this project, our students have had a chance to share their voice with a wider audience and participate in the democratic process.  To learn more, check out their website.

- Renee

Community Responses to the Hear Me Display at Square Café

The Hear Me display at Square Café has evoked over 60 unique responses from community members since we installed it in May.

The display features rotating stories from a group of passionate students who are committed to improving their education through the F.U.S.E. program, which was started by a Wilkinsburg high school teacher to give students additional learning opportunities outside the classroom. 


F.U.S.E. worked with Hear Me to record the students’ stories and partnered us with Square Café, a local restaurant who is committed to serving the community. The powerful stories and the display have become a topic of discussion in the café.


It currently features a story form Ashley, a 17-year-old Wilkinsburg High School Student, and asks the question: “How can we help students and administrators better understand each other?”

 

Safety at Wilkinsburg High School  By Ashley, 17

Community responses to Ashley's story:

 

 


We update the story and the question every 2 months.  


Previous stories include Sophia's, accompanied by the same question:

(“How can we help students and administrators better understand each other?”)

 

My neighborhood  By Sophia , 16

Community responses:


 

 

and Tatiyana's, along with the question "Who is responsible for the learning environment in schools?" 


My School  By Tatiyana , 17

Community Responses:

 

 

 

To stay up-to-date with Hear Me displays and community responses, follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HearMeProject.


For more information or to learn how you can host a display, please email Hoffman.ryan8@gmail.com.

 


Ryan Hoffman Project Coordinator, Hear Me 

Hear Me 101 films premiere!

The first ever Hear Me 101 youth advocacy videos premiered its videos to a crowd of approximately 75 on Sunday July 15 at CCAC. 

 

Students, friends and families gathered for hors d’oeuvres and conversation to celebrate their achievements.   Guests had a chance to listen to Hear Me 101 stories in CanEx and read up on the projects’ treatments in the lobby and meet some of the young filmmakers from Clairton City High School, McKeesport Area High School, Steel Valley Senior High School, and Woodland Hills High School.

 

Representatives from the Hear Me project talked about the students’ journey making short documentaries from concept to final cut.  We shared that we learned how warm and hospitable their schools and communities really are and that through the whole Hear Me 101 program, we hope that these students can begin the process of fighting negative stereotypes of their schools.

 

Steel Valley student Katie Miller introduced her group's topic:  Does where you grow up determine your chances of success?  "This question led to more questions and more questions."  Clairton student Marcaysia Dawkins' group wanted everyone to see that "Clairton always comes together as a big family."

 

 

 

Congratulations to all these young filmmakers!  Films can be seen at http://www.hear-me.net/ hearme_101.