We are extremely proud to introduce We’Ced Youth Media’s first magazine issue, and launch this site, featuring articles from the magazine. Merced and its surrounding areas have always had a vibrant population of young people. Unfortunately, too often there is a disconnect between generations that can lead to misunderstandings and a lack of communication. Our aim through our program and publication is to highlight and empower youth to tell their stories and that of their communities, while providing them with the guidance and skill-building necessary to foster the development of their strongest possible voice.
With the help of our big sister partner The kNOw Youth Media and Building Healthy Communities of The California Endowment, we’ve been able to begin this important youth work locally. Since last October, a cohort of youth from all corners of the greater Merced area have been meeting bi-weekly, slowly but surely laying our media foundation. I am continually humbled by the courage, spirit and honesty the young people bring to our meetings, those qualities have since transferred into their contributions to the stories on this site.
Through stories about the struggles of substance abuse (p. 5), coping with local and family tragedy (p. 3 and p. 10) or growing up under trying circumstances (p. 22), it is crystal clear that these youth want a healthy environment and are willing to work for it. We have some brave pieces that begin to scratch the surface on sexual identity (p. 4) and mental health (p. 13)—two issues that are very present among our youth but often are ignored or dismissed. We also include more analytical pieces examining the roles of army recruiters on school campuses (p. 14) and the effects of fast food advertising on young people (p. 17).
This is only the beginning! This is the first brick in what we aim to be a long-standing institution for youth in our area. Please, enjoy this magazine, share it with a friend and if you have a comment or question, feel free to reach out to us.