Latin American students will have the opportunity to participate in a program that gives 15 students, ages 12 to 17, from North Philadelphia, the opportunity to take classes two days a week at WRTI (90.1 FM).
The project is sponsored by Open Borders, a nonprofit organization sponsored by WRTI radio, which is partly owned by Temple and National Public Radio.
Last Thursday, the students were shown radio equipment by Joe Patti, the production manager at WRTI and had their voices recorded on CDs.
At the radio station, the students will learn how to produce a show and do writing exercises as will also be educated in the editing system Audacity. The program will continue through May.
These students will learn the basic functions of how a radio station is run and then go on to producing their own radio show which will be aired over the Internet.
“We’ve been preparing to go on the Internet by recording our voices, getting into groups and thinking of names for our shows. Me and two girls have a night show,” said 15-year-old Melissa Hurtado, a Central High School student.
Manuell Portillo, director of the organization, said he hopes that this project will give the young Latin American community a voice.
“Our goal is to give young people in our neighborhood an opportunity to express the issues that affect their lives, their family and their community,” Portillo said. “This gives them an opportunity to expose Latin youth, use their culture and share their cultural values with others.”
Temple students Chantee Lans, a senior and volunteer reporter at WRTI, and Anthony Graham, a junior and former DJ at the student-run radio station WHIP, were selected by the English department to teach these classes.
“I hope they can always reach farther than the eye can see by being exposed to what’s out there to reach,” Graham said about his students.
Not only will the students take what they will learn and apply it to their own show, but the program will also help them prepare for their future plans.
“I would like to have a studio for recording,” said 16-year-old Alexander Mendez from Mastbaum High School in Northeast Philadelphia. “I produce music and beats and that is what I want to do in the future.”
Some of the students who had doubts about radio quickly changed their minds after getting involved in the program.
“Before, I wasn’t interested in radio, but once I began this program, I loved it,” said Jessica Castaneda, a 14-year-old from Mastbaum.
Lans, who has been reporting at WRTI since August, said she admires what Temple is doing for the organization and how it is benefiting the kids.
“I think it’s a beautiful thing when Temple and other institutions and colleges send help to nonprofit organizations like the Open Borders Projects, especially when it comes to the youth. [It keeps] them off the streets and out of trouble and learning,” Lans said. “The kids are really bright and I’m glad they are exposed to this program.”
Trish Fleurimond can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.