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RadioActive Youth Media

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RadioActive is the youth media program at KUOW where youth delight in discovering public radio journalism. Hear stories created by RadioActive youth producers about the people and issues that matter to young people in the Northwest. Subscribe to get our latest audio pieces delivered directly to you.

RadioActive stories produced prior to October 2012 can be found on our archive or here, too!

The author (left) with her mother, Maria Espinoza, at the Womxn's March on Seattle in January 2017.
COURTESY OF MILLA ESPINOZA

When my mom, Maria Espinoza, came to the United States from Russia at age 13, it was toward the end of the Cold War, and some Americans were openly hostile to Russians. 


Welcome KUOW's Summer 2017 RadioActive youth producers

Jul 18, 2017
Row 1: Carlin Bills, Aliyah Musaliar, Abay Estifanos and Zeytun Ahmed. Row 2: Jessie Nguyen, Isabella Ortiz, Diego Villarroel and Patrick Liu.
KUOW

KUOW's RadioActive Youth Media is proud to offer our summer journalism workshop. Eight teens, aged 16-18, will spend six weeks learning what it means to be a journalist.

Emiliano with his girlfriend Trista
COURTESY OF EMILIANO ALÁRCON

It was a warm summer evening. I could feel the sun on my back. I was sitting at the edge of a highway bridge.

The sounds of cars rolled both behind and under me as I looked down at what looked like my own final resting place. 


Huyen-Tran Phung at a RadioActive event.
KUOW Photo

Before I went on this eye-opening journey, I was like any other teenager who thought they knew everything. Sometimes, we just don’t realize how much our environment shapes our beliefs. 


The author, right, with his teacher, Shawn Kamp.
Courtesy of Nate Martin

Sometimes it feels like we’re missing something in our lives. And sometimes we find what we’re looking for when we least expect it. Kind of like what happened to me.


On the first day of eighth grade, a boy walked up to me and asked if I had a bomb in my backpack.


Courtesy of Clayressa Borland

As I walked up to her house in Tacoma, Clayressa Borland met me with a tight hug. We hadn’t seen each other in two years, so we couldn’t stop smiling.

We met in a psychiatric hospital. 


Courtesy of Dylan Rae Metcalfe

Growing up, Dylan Rae Metcalfe could do whatever she wanted.  

“My mom let me do all kinds of sideways shit,” she said. “Like, if I wanted to smoke pot or drink or smoke cigarettes or have sex or whatever, my mom allowed it ‘as long as it's happening in the house.’ That was awesome to me.”


Arvie Lynn Cabral with her son Riley
Courtesy of Riley Collins

My mom and I are kind of the same person. Look at our muddy little eyes and how they crinkle when we smile. And our thick black hair, which we keep tied on top of our round heads. And our freckles, scattered on our wide cheeks.  


My mom knew she was going to lose her hair when she went to chemotherapy, so she got it cut and made into this wig.
Courtesy of Jad Vianu

My mom’s hair has always been a source of pride for her.

Poet Hamda Yusuf says Somali poetry 'is the poetry that you have to hear. And you have to hear it from the person who wrote it.'
Courtesy of Hamda Yusuf

When Hamda Yusuf was growing up in West Seattle, her mom used to recite original poems for her children in the car.

"I remember my dad telling me Somalia is the nation of poets and I always knew this to be true... because I know nobody else's mom is writing them poems," Yusuf said. 

What King County students and teachers would like to see in schools

Apr 1, 2017
student studying
Flickr photo/CollegeDegrees360 (CC BY 2.0)/ HTTP://BIT.LY/2nez3Za

​RadioActive's Emiliano Alarcon, Nate Martin and Ayub Weheliye discuss the different schools they attend and what they want out of our public education system. They ask King County students and teachers what they would like to change in their school systems.

What could they possibly want to change? Only one way to find out.


Do you believe the stars influence your life?

Mar 23, 2017
starry night
Flickr photo/Csaba Berze (CC BY 2.0) HTTP://BIT.LY/2nNkTTz

Some people check their horoscopes and where the planets are positioned every day, while others think it's all "quack babble." 

RadioActive youth producers Livi Thrift and Mimi Hubbard explore what has drawn people to zodiac signs for thousands of years across different cultures. 


How to keep young readers from ditching Dickens and chucking Chaucer

Mar 18, 2017
books
KUOW Photo/Soraya Marashi

Breaking up with Shakespeare? Done with Dickens?  Between misrepresentations, boring language, and distracting covers, reading classical literature can seem like a chore. Join RadioActivians Soraya Marashi and Zuheera Ali as they explore youth’s broken relationship with classical literature and how we can help mend the ties.


‘We want youth out of the criminal justice system’

Feb 16, 2017
KUOW Photo / Natalie Newcomb

“April, do you think youth easily get away with committing crimes?

“In certain cases, yes, because adults think that we’re still learning right from wrong. What do you think, Melissa?”

“To be honest, I don’t think so. I always hear about young people getting into trouble on nationwide news or at school.”

In the RadioActive podcast, hosts Melissa Takai and April Reyes share their thoughts and experiences about the criminal justice system. 


Welcome KUOW's Spring 2017 After-School RadioActive youth producers

Feb 2, 2017
Row 1: Hanni Hassan, Soraya Marashi, Tran Phung and Livi Thrift.  Row 2: Nate Martin, Ayub Weheliye, Mimi Hubbard and Emiliano Alarcon. Row 3: Milla Espinoza, Zuheera Ali and Riley Collins.
KUOW

KUOW's RadioActive Youth Media is proud to offer our afterschool Introduction to Radio Journalism workshop at the New Holly Family Center in southeast Seattle, in partnership with the Seattle Housing Authority. Eleven teens, aged 16-18, will spend 14 weeks learning what it means to be a journalist.

During that time, they'll gain the skills to create radio stories. They'll do all of the research, interviews, writing, voicing and editing to produce their own feature stories and podcasts on topics of their choice.

KUOW Photo / Rachel Lam

    

The day I arrived at Oceti Sakowin, I felt like I had come home. 

How do Seattle youth feel about a President Trump? Disbelief, stress, and for some, relief

Jan 18, 2017
KUOW Photo

"The day of the election, I felt like I was not wanted in this country. Period."

"Trump actually, I believe, cares about people."

"It is real. This is not a nightmare."


Rachel Lam

KUOW’s RadioActive youth producer Rachel Lam was on the front lines at Standing Rock, North Dakota last week, where thousands of people are protesting the Dakota Access oil pipeline. The Army Corps of Engineers says they have to leave their biggest camp by Monday, December 5

What does a booming Seattle mean for young people?

Oct 21, 2016
Downtown Seattle
Flickr Photo/Jeffrey Scott Will (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://www.flickr.com/photos/cactus22minus1/24611507186/

By definition, growing pains are the problems that are experienced as something grows larger or more successful -- and there's no doubt that Seattle has been experiencing that in recent years. But has this city really become more successful? And what do these changes mean for young people? 

Courtesy of Maya Konz

When I was younger I was open about being adopted.

During show-and-tell in preschool, I shared moon cakes with my classmates to celebrate Chinese New Year. My parents were with me to explain to everyone that I was born in China and adopted at 10 months old.


The scariest thing about heroin? 'You're gonna love it'

Oct 19, 2016
Alyssa started using heroin when she was 14. She’s now 20 and works as a daycare teacher.
Flickr photo / B.A.D. https://www.flickr.com/photos/bradadozier/

When she was 10 years old, Alyssa found the spot where her parents hid the alcohol. The moment it touched her lips, she was addicted to that escape. (Her last name is being withheld to protect her privacy).


Omar Ali with his family. Omar is standing fourth form the left holding his daughter.
Courtesy of Awal Ibrahim

Recently, my whole family got together to celebrate my sister’s graduation. Everyone was very excited.

But my family wasn’t always all together here in Seattle. My uncle Omar Ali is responsible for us being together at this exact moment.

Courtesy of April Reyes

This is me and my family. My mom, my dad, brother, and sister. (Not pictured: cats.) 

Six months ago, they were just strangers. And six months ago, I was homeless and couch surfing. I worked about 35 hours a week at Panda Express while attending school full time. I was a junior in high school, 16 years old. 

My dad's Cinderella story: Finding love in Somalia

Sep 28, 2016
Courtesy of Zubeyda Ahmed

My dad's life story is kind of like Cinderella’s. 

My dad, Abdul-Basit Hassan, grew up without a mom, worked for an evil relative and found his princess in the least expected way. 


KUOW Photo / Amy Styer

"Hiiiii!" 

I open the magenta door to the Lambert House, a place on Seattle's Capitol Hill where queer youth are free to be themselves.

  

Sam struggled with depression in middle school.
KUOW Photo/Natalie Newcomb

Sam, 17, has a bright smile and is always making  her friends laugh.

But in seventh grade, Sam struggled. She was trying to figure out her role in the social ladder, and her parents were fighting, and she was feeling extremely sad.


Surya Hendry

Meet Grace Zheng.

She's a 16-year-old volunteer at the Seattle Aquarium, where she chatters away to visitors about the scientific exhibits: "This is a jaw from a sixgill shark," she says, noting, "You can see how its teeth are serrated."


'How can I claim Ethiopia as my country when they oppress my people?'

Aug 8, 2016
KUOW Photo / Paul Kiefer

"Wiping someone's identity away ... is very dangerous."

That's how many Oromos feel. On our podcast today, Oromos in Seattle talk about being Oromo in America and their fears about the current human rights violations against Oromos in Ethiopia. 


Free will vs. fate: Who’s in control?

Aug 3, 2016
KUOW/Amy Styer

Do you believe that we have control over our future, or is it predestined? In today's podcast, Radioactivians Amy Styer and Brian Freeland uncover the various viewpoints on a concept that has been boggling minds for centuries: Fate.

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