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I came to YMP as an intern in my last year of college and was brought on to collaborate with NM’Power, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the Gallery of Conscience of the Museum of International Folk Art. The topic was ‘Let’s Talk About This’, living with HIV Aids.
I had never worked with such a group or on such an important topic as this and found my awareness grow immensely by their sharing personal stories. We then had the group interview the folk artists in the exhibit and wove the stories together. The end result was powerful and very moving. I realized how important and vital awareness and information can me shared by storytelling.
Currently I am working with ¡Youth Works! a youth group from Santa Fe, New Mexico that are seeking their GED’s. Once again we have partnered with the Gallery of Conscience to address the issue of immigration and belonging. I am very passionate about this particular issue and being able to work with this group is exciting and rewarding as we interview the folk artists and cultivate their personal stories of what it means to ‘belong’ between worlds. Being able to share with this particular group the skills I have learned is exciting for me because I want them to realize the potential they have in themselves to go above and beyond what might be expected of them at this point in their lives. I realize they have had a rougher time than most youth and may not have considered media as a field to excel. I say this because at one time I did not think I could do the work I am currently doing and teaching. When we fully embrace and recognize our potential and find that we have a passion for something in life, it is very important to receive the support to continue on to accomplish this dream and goals. I see this in some of the participants and that is rewarding beyond measure.
I enjoy the challenge of the unknown and when we work with different youth groups, we face this challenge every day. Cultivating trust is very vital and crucial when we work with youth and knowing this has allowed me to be more expressive and willing to share with them my own personal stories that relate to the topic at hand. In doing so, the dynamic shifts and relationships deepen.