Raising awareness about youths’ most pressing concerns and finding
creative solutions to them are among the goals of teens running the
show on their own Burbank TV series.
“I think many teens will have a voice from this,” said Jason
Meneses, a 17 year-old John Burroughs High School student working on
the show. “I think it’s going to change the way kids are going to
The City Council put $64,000 behind the project, which has 20
Burbank middle and high school students working on every aspect of
producing five episodes of the unnamed program. It is scheduled to
begin airing in April on Burbank TV6.
Topics the students plan to address in the segments include
prejudice and discrimination, depression, alcohol and drugs, sex and
City staff assist students in putting together the 30- to
45-minute episodes. But the young people involved carry the brunt of
the load by developing the shows as a team.
“We [are] the ones making the decisions rather than the adults,”
said Valerie Reyes, 17, from John Burroughs High School. “Usually,
they’re shaping you and directing you.”
Both Valerie and Jason aim to pursue a future in broadcast
journalism, and described the team effort as one in which members
listen to one another respectfully, and go back and forth in refining
a vision for each segment.
Because they are given a chance to test every element of
production, the students are discovering which talents they want to
pursue in future work.
“Being a cameraperson is great [because] you get to put the whole
story in your perspective,” Reyes said, adding that she also enjoys
conducting interviews in front of the camera.
While the students look forward to the mark their work will leave
on the community, their own views are being changed through their
"[They] have seen the effects of prejudice and discrimination, and
it has really raised their awareness of it,” said co-producer Sommer
Embree, one of the city’s staff liaisons.
Many of the students working on the programs were involved in the
city’s 2001 Youth Summit, where the idea for the program was first
Students interested in becoming involved in the show can call
Teens in Action at 238-5328.