By Paloma Mariz, Communications Associate
You’ve probably heard that students come from all over San Francisco to our Tenderloin Center to create a Podcast from scratch with the help of tutors (from brainstorming to drafting to recording!) in one single day. But there’s nothing like seeing—or hearing—the final product with your own eyes to grasp the full experience.
Curious to see what the whole thing was all about, I embarked on this journey on one of those rainy, January mornings, when we were low on tutors but full of students to entertain, without knowing what to expect. I work in Communications, writing bits and pieces from behind my desk, but inspired by our work culture (programs above all else!) and fuelled with coffee, I jumped in to help our young writers.
It’s always exciting—and a little nerve-racking—to meet students for the first time. Will they like me? Will I be able to answer all their questions? I had no idea, but I went in with an open mind and a pounding heart.
And the result blew my mind. Most students were eager to tell their stories, to share their favorite recipes (put some hot Cheetos on that pizza!), to talk about their pets and hobbies, but above all, to feel heard. They also wanted to know me, scanning through my thoughts with those bright, inquiring eyes, asking questions on style and identity, (“and let me see that weird tattoo on your arm!”) so they could trust this new adult who was here to help them with their writing.
Many paragraphs later, I went back to my lonely keyboard, reliving the enlightening experience it was to step out of my world for a second and peek into their busy lives. And while I was there, listening to stories of family, love, and resilience, it made me realize that there’s so much we can learn if we just stop and listen. And that’s what I would like to propose today. For you to take a moment and listen to our students’ voices, from Mexico, Guatemala, Daly City, or the Tenderloin. Some are heartwarming tales of ice cream and dog kisses, and others are a deep dive into technology through the lens of a young photographer, but no matter how profound, silly, or insightful, they all matter and deserve to be heard.
Listen to Nyara, Samantha, and Vincent, and maybe you can also learn a thing or two:
Our Podcasting Field Trips have been a huge success amongst students, teachers, and volunteers alike. But don’t take it from me, sign up to volunteer to get the whole experience and meet amazing young people that will surely inspire you as well. And you might even hear thanks like this: “Thank you for helping me with my story and practicing it so I didn’t mess up. You guys are the best! You guys are superstars!” -Diego
Want to hear more? Check out our SoundCloud page.