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Youth United Teens Speak Out

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This fall, United Way Youth United teens met up with VOX teens in our downtown newsroom to discuss the best ways to interview people about the issues most relevant to society today including: college, individuality, LGBTQ rights, and double standards. Youth United is United Way of Greater Atlanta’s new youth engagement program. It helps develop skills, such as leadership skills, in teens who are passionate about giving back to their community

Ten Youth United teens were introduced to VOX teen staffers to discuss the tools of journalism and the best ways to interview people on important issues as they developed their own questions and responses. They addressed many topics that affect teens.

Soon after learning about writing and interviewing, we put those lessons into practice. It was all fun and so realistic. Some teens sat in front of a black backdrop with professional lights beaming down on us, while others we changed the setting and filmed in the VOX lounge, giving the video a more intimate feeling.

As we sat around and filmed to discuss college/the future and social issues, we got to hear a well-said male perspective on double standards, opinions on LGBT rights and poverty, and how teens truly feel about their futures. Despite a few technical difficulties, we were in journalist mode, so we did whatever was necessary: We used iPhone camera instead of DSLR, changed locations and lighting.

Coming together to discuss issues that teens face, then figuring out answers gave many of us the confidence to get out there and really give back. Getting serious about important issues does not have to be draining or conforming: VOX and United Way came together in such a chill way and left eager to give back to our communities.

The Youth United teens for 2016-17 are:

Alana Preval, Ssnior, Chamblee Charter High School

Avni Kakkar, junior, The Westminster Schools

Brandon Sykes, senior, Drew Charter Senior Academy

Chaide Wynn, senior, Carver Early College

Dori Balser, junior, Riverwood International Charter School

Emilia Castillo, senior, Atlanta International School

Hsin Huei Chen, junior, River Ridge High School

Jada Milligan, junior, Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School

Jewells Mincey, senior, Georgia Connections Academy

Kadi Weakland, senior, Woodward Academy

Kendall Robinson, junior, Greater Atlanta Christian School

Lauren Seroyer, junior, Peachtree Ridge High School

Roman Bacchetta, senior, The Westminster Schools

Rylee Jahn, senior, Woodward Academy

Samuel Calloway, junior, Homeschooled

Samuel Naab, senior, Blessed Trinity Catholic High School


Ameerah, 17, is VOX’s Atlanta Teen Voices peer editor who supported the Youth United workshop and produced the video. For more info on getting involved with Youth United, check out their website

Interested in VOX’s Atlanta Teen Voices program facilitating a workshop for your organization?

With the goal of amplifying the voices of teens across metro Atlanta, Atlanta Teen Voices program offers workshops where teens can speak-up, write, and create art and media to be shared on To collectively impact our community through raising and sharing teens’ voices, contact Sarah Garnitz at

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