Mapping Memories, Participatory media, Place Based Stories & Refugee Youth used media and filming for advocacy for youth refugees, whose voices are not usually heard in the mainstream. In Mapping Memories, I was impressed by the guideline made for people wanting to create similar organizations. As they explain, the process of “reclaiming voice and representation” by involving “ethics, advocacy, and collaboration” (10) is an incredibly difficult process, especially when involving a diverse group of youth coping with trauma. I believe that it is easy for facilitators of these types of organizations to have the best intentions fr their youth, but, a wide range of experiences need to be kept in mind when facilitating to create a safe space.
The considerations they provided for working with at-risk youth with difficult stories were very helpful for me, specifically the importance of providing trigger warnings, providing resources for youth, being able to provide a wide range of workshops, and involving a diverse group of community members. These values remind me of the values prioritized in an organization that I was involved with in highschool called Young Women Empowered, a Greater Seattle Area nonprofit that equips youth with leaderships skills to advocate in their community. Like Refugee Youth & Participatory Practice’s body, Y-WE’s youth is made up of over 70% immigrants to the US, 80% are women of color, and a myriad of family, sexual orientation, religious, political, and educational backgrounds. Because of the diversity of this program, similar values, such as respecting the individual needs and processes of the youth.
Like Refugee Youth, Y-WE’s mentors are expected to “be present and authentic, listen well, and be willing to jump back in.” Also similar, Y-WE believes that “girls are the experts of their own lives and futures,” and the role of mentors is only to help them see that, not force the youth to see it. From my experiences as a participant and facilitator at Y-WE and reading about Refugee Youth’s program models, I see that there is a similar value system for at-risk youth who have incredible stories.