The Indianapolis Children’s Museum together with The Indianapolis Star developed a weekly community outreach program for youths to write articles that are especially relevant to youth. Ranging from teenage pregnancy to drug abuse to youth heroes, their columns focus on both difficult and uplifting topics. Peer pressure has always been a factor for teenagers, and Y-Press is an independent news bureau and is a long-term valuable source of information and opinions for both youths and parents alike. In fact, it is used as a tool to broach a difficult issue by parents to youths and youths with their parents, helping foster stronger communications. Also, it sometimes is provides youths information on issues that hey may not feel yet comfortable discussing with others.
Some youth have more difficulty adjusting to the pressures inherent in growing into adulthood, and become disenfranchised from their parents, teachers, or even peers. Y-Press is a vehicle for youths to address issues with others about how they are feeling, or as a request for help. In the same way, Y-Press articles are used by parents as a non-confrontational starting point to initiate a discussion about a sensitive or controversial topic. Sometimes, articles are written about youth heroes, as one Daniel both suggested as a story idea and recently edited, dealing with a disable Indiana youth that served as an inspiration and hero for all youths by organizing and building a playground especially designed for disabled youths.
Y-Press began serving the Indianapolis community in 1990, and Daniel’s participating began in August of 2001. In 2002, Daniel was subsequently elected to the Youth Advisory Counsel of the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. Daniel plans to work at Y-Press through high school, and his term on the Youth Advisory Counsel concludes when he graduates from high school.
Y-Press weekly columns have impacted thousands of youths and their families within the Indiana area. The column has facilitated awareness and family discussions of difficult youth oriented subjects, and it has highlighted youth heroes that are inspirational. Daniel was named Reporter of the Month on three occasions, and he has recently completed training as an Editor, having edited several stories in the last few months. Based upon Daniel’s performance and the community impact he helped facilitate, he was named the 2003 Outstanding Middle School Volunteer by the Prudential Spirit of the Community Committee, and received a cash award and a trip for him and his family to Washington DC. He has also received the Outstanding Citizens Award by the City of Carmel, and was recognized by the Indiana State Legislature.
Sometimes the most innovative solution to offering insights or resolving difficult youth issues can be innovated by the youths themselves. Dan has proposed, reported on, and edited numerous stories that have helped foster communications and problem resolution for Indiana’s youth.