Time Warner to give YMCAs media and technology grants

CHICAGO: Our media czars could sure learn a thing or two from Time Warner in terms of giving back to society. The Time Warner Foundation has selected America's YMCAs as recipients of a $600,000 grant.

The aim is to advance 21st Century media and technology skills, increasing the ability of teenagers to communicate, collaborate and address community concerns.


An official release says that the $600,000 grant, accorded over three years to US YMCAs will initially educate and train over 450 YMCA teen-related staff, youth volunteers and YMCA community partners in after school programmes in the use of media and technology to tackle pressing community concerns. A similar Time Warner grant is being given to the New York City organisation Girls Inc.

The Time Warner grants will enable YMCA teens to create one-stop web and video inventories of the resources available in their communities. The process is called Asset Mapping. Teens will then use their newly developed media and communication skills to advocate for positive changes in their communities such as increasing after-school programs, making libraries and other public institutions more widely available to teens, and creating open spaces for teen activities.

Over the next three years, the YMCA of the USA will hold nine retreats for youth-serving programme staff and young volunteers from local YMCAs. Those teams will then return home and begin, or refine, civic-oriented volunteer projects involving many more teens at local Ys. Fifteen of those local projects will be selected for additional funding from the grant.

The grant funds will allow the YMCA to educate and train at least 450 Y teen-related staff, youth volunteers and community partners in 21st Century skills like media, technology, video production, collaboration and critical thinking. The YMCA will also train 45 teens and 15 staff per year in advanced computer communications and effective writing; facilitate the creation of 15 youth-developed, advanced web products on critical local issues; and facilitate each year the training of an additional 45 teenagers using the initial trainees as instructors.

YMCA of the USA national executive director Kenneth L. Gladish Ph.D added, "This partnership will enable the YMCAs to put more dynamic new tools and capabilities into the hands of America's young people. YMCAs engage more than nine million young members who in turn can address many of the particular challenges and concerns of their own communities.

"This process will serve our communities and our nation while building character and creating a generation of new leaders as well. We are very grateful to the Time Warner Foundation for their important contributions."

Time Warner Foundation executive director Michele Sacconaghi said, "The YMCA has a terrific history of providing learning opportunities for young people in the out-of-school hours. The programmes we are sponsoring will extend this rich tradition, giving teens the chance to learn the skills they need to succeed in a complex world."

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