(TFC) – The Fifth Column has always strived to bring as many viewpoints to our readers as possible. Until now, an entire demographic has been left out of our coverage: youth. Due to the legal, logistical, and liability issues involved with working with minors, it was out of reach despite years of attempting to establish our own program. In the process of researching for yet another attempt, we stumbled upon a collective of sorts already engaging in what we envisioned. In many ways, it’s even better than what we planned. Youth Voices brings students and teachers from schools all over the country together. In their own words, they are:
a school-based social network that was started in 2003 by a group of National Writing Project teachers. We merged several earlier blogging projects. We have found that there are many advantages to bringing students together in one site that lives beyond any particular class. It’s easier for individual students to read and write about their own passions, to connect with other students, comment on each others work, and create multimedia posts for each other. Further, it’s been exciting for us to pool our knowledge about curriculum and digital literacies.
They’re an informal organization, much like TFC. We’re very happy to help expand the reach of this project and, effective immediately, TFC will begin showcasing pieces written by students involved with this network. The articles will certainly add a new flavor to our network.
Frankly, most of the journalists involved with TFC are jaded, cynical people, many of whom are simply waiting for the whole house of cards to collapse. Aside from opening the door to a new demographic, the young writers are bringing something blatantly missing from our network: hope. Hope for a future. The hope “to realize that change doesn’t happen immediately, for it takes time to change an entire population.”
The articles will be available in our new Youth Voices section and will be shared on our social media. The articles will be presented as received, without editing or influence from TFC staff. As time progresses, we hope to expand this endeavor to include mentoring and other opportunities for the students. These students will be the next generation of writers, you can start reading them today: