10384345_693519480696792_5914436915968916099_n-2VoiceWaves is a Long Beach youth-led journalism and media-training project. The youth, ages 15-25, are learning to report, write, and create digital journalism content. Their reports will raise awareness of community health issues and activate change in local neighborhoods.

New America Media, with the support of The California Endowment, the Knight Foundation and in partnership with Building Healthy Communities, launched VoiceWaves in May 2011. The project, based at St. Luke’s Church, trains youth to use digital photography, video, radio and social media as community engagement tools to produce a Healthy Long Beach. They are gaining skills that will help them throughout their life, and earn experience that they can turn into a career.

Central and West Long Beach

VoiceWaves is proud to call Central and West Long Beach home. It is an area rich in culture, history, and human resources. Perhaps Long Beach’s most diverse areas, these two neighborhoods boast Filipino bakeries and Vietnamese noodle houses, African American barber shops and Mexican taquerias, Cambodian temples and Muslim mosques side by side.  The residents of these two districts speak a host of languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, Hmong, Khmer, Samoan, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese to name but a few.

Central and West Long Beach, though, are also the poorest areas of the city.  With the exception of violence within the community, media coverage is rare.  Residents of these neighborhoods have no news source with which to share their concerns and problems, visions and hopes.

New America Media is the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. Over 57 million ethnic adults connect to each other, to home countries and to America through 3000+ ethnic media, the fastest growing sector of American journalism. NAM produces, aggregates and disseminates multimedia content and services for and from the youth and ethnic media sectors. They support youth development programs that produce peer-to-peer youth media and inter-generational dialogue through ethnic and mainstream media.

For more information, visit www.newamericamedia.org.

The California Endowment is funding a 10-year, $1 billion program called Building Healthy Communities. 14 communities across the state are taking action to make where they live healthier. They’re doing this by improving employment opportunities, education, housing, neighborhood safety, unhealthy environmental conditions, access to healthy foods and more. The goal: to create places where children are healthy, safe and ready to learn. Ultimately, they are aiming at nothing less than a revolution in the way all of us think about and support health for all Californians.

The California Endowment is a foundation committed to improving the health of all Californians, especially those in underserved communities. They’ve made thousands of grants since 1996, and the most important thing they’ve learned is that our health doesn’t begin in a doctor’s office. Where we live has an enormous impact on our health. Being able to breathe clean air, to send our kids to school without fear of violence, to have a convenient place to buy fresh foods, to live near a park where we can walk and play – these are the things that prevent us from getting sick in the first place.

For more information, visit www.calendow.org/healthycommunities.

VoiceWaves is a program of Pacific News Service dba New America Media and is made possible through the generous support of The California Endowment and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, in partnership with Building Healthy Communities, Long Beach. Donations made are automatically restricted solely for VoiceWaves use.