YES Works...in the Neighborhood

Community Studios Reach Teens Where They Live

YES sets up Studio Sites, or "Multimedia Motowns," right in the heart of low-income neighborhoods. Here's why having YES next door helps teens:

Built in partnership with youth development organizations, schools, churches, businesses and community centers, these multimedia produciton studios allow teens to make processional-quality music, Internet, TV/film and publishing products. But that's not all. Teens then promote and sell their products for profit.

Studio sites also meet more basic teen needs. For example: nothing to do after school, on weekends and during summer, leaves many teens bored and easily tempted by trouble. YES Studio Sites are open during these high-risk times.

Not only do teens learn to set and reach goals YES, but they also share the results of their work with family, friends and the community.

Operational Philosophy

YES Community Studios are located in the heart of low-income neighborhoods and target the hard-to-reach adolescent and teen (middle and high school ages) population. Young people are engaged in music recording, web publishing, graphic design, TV production, and marketing activities. Studio sessions are a way to build strong, lasting relationships between responsible, caring adults and youths considered at-risk. The studios are tactical offensive weapons that impact youth by creatively using the following three building blocks: Culture; Education; and Character Development.

Culture

The hallmark of YES' strategy is to embrace urban youth culture as the principle way to reach teenagers at-risk in order to re-direct them toward character development and education. Today, hip-hop culture influences every facet of the entertainment media popular among urban youth through music, language, dance, art and video production. YES Community Studios cultivates the interests of teens in hip hop culture and involves music, script development, video production, and Web publishing. These studios in effect are miniature "Multimedia Motowns."

Hip-Hop culture, in large measure, is about taking care of your business. Successful Hip-Hop artists like Master P, Puffy, Missy Elliot, and others embody this entrepreneurial spirit. Even gangster life, at the core, has a take-care-of-business attitude. The YES Operational Approach must be consistent with the rules of the culture if it is to be successful.

YES Community Studios are run like businesses; multimedia entertainment companies with many satellite offices. Within a short time, young people should see very little difference between Russell Simmons' Def Jam Records and YES Music Studios. YES Community Studios will equip the young people with an appreciation for the rules of the legitimate business world and help instill appropriate work ethic and job readiness skills.

Teens learn more than technical skills using YES digital sound mixing boards. They also gain life lessons in self-confidence, open communication and respect for others.

Professionals from all kinds of businesses volunteer with YES. Volunteers tap into teens' interest in music, video and the Net to open young eyes to new possibilities.

Education

The overwhelming presence of technology at virtually every level of the entertainment industry provides a strong platform for linking the excitement of entertainment to education. Specifically, at YES Community Studios every young person is encouraged to learn how to operate all of the equipment. Young people will be required to launch their own web site that can show off their creative masterpieces. As such, they become familiar with technology in a way that is practical and fun.

As a consequence of working side by side with responsible, caring adults to complete projects, the young people learn critical thinking, oral and written communication, and discipline. To complete their projects they must collaborate with others and engage in problem solving.

Character Development

The Philadelphia-based youth development research firm, Public/Private Ventures, conducted effectiveness studies of youth programs over a ten-year period. They found that organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Boys and Girls Clubs had the greatest impact with youngsters (ages 6-11) largely as a result of their emphasis on traditional mentoring activities. YES desires similar outcomes with adolescents and teens, helping them reach their full potential through encouraging relationships with responsible, caring adults in a safe environment.

Time spent discussing projects, working in the studio or just chillin' in the lounge area is purposefully constructed to lead toward the intellectual, character and spiritual development of the youths. Self respect, concern for others and community service are other core values stressed by the YES Community Studios Model. The collaborative nature of the production process demands a high degree of social interaction on a variety of levels - interpersonal relationships, relationships within the studio "family," and community relations activities essential to building a following. As the young people work through the process of bringing a product to market, their successes and failures become object lessons.

YES Sites provide teens with a safe place to experience teamwork, gets hands-on experience with professional music, video and computer technology, plus be uplifted by responsible, caring adult mentors.

Some of the current YES Studio Sites:

- William A. Hunton YMCA

- Boys & Girls Club of South Hamton Roads

- Refuge Church of God in Christ