Youth Media Sanctuary

The Sanctuary for Independent Media features local youth of Youth Media Sanctuary - a community media arts program in North Troy, NY. The program teaches multimedia skills to young people (ages 15-25), to develop urgently needed independent local voices in our economically devastated neighborhood.

Fall 16 Internships Available!



Uptown Summer '16 Youth Media Sanctuary productions

This summer, our Youth Media Sanctuary producers created four documentary portraits on the theme of abandoned buildings in their economically devastated neighborhoods. “Jerry’s House,” by Kai Griffin, Bryanna Mangual, Diajah Grier, Milan Miles, and Andrew Pintro, tells the story of a family forced out of a deteriorating rental “now abandoned”, with a happy ending of owning a home. “Safer than Yemen?” by Bryan Mangual, Rachel Lord, and Arianna Young, explores violence through the lens of a corner bodega, opened by 1920s Italian immigrants, now transferred to Yemeni owners. Orange and Lex,” by Shatora Buckman, Jahsendah Dann, and Ayisha Menko, shares a razed childhood neighborhood. “Sadie’s Grandma’s House,” by Sadie Anson, recounts restoring a vacant building into a loving home. “Abandoned Building Haikus” were also created, in collaboration with the “Breathing These Words” poetry workshop. Produced by Media Mentors Jamel Mosely, Kathy High, and Branda Miller.

Check out the portraits of our amazing Uptown Summer '16 teens!







More About Youth Media Sanctuary:

The Sanctuary is located across the street from the Missing Link Street Ministry.  This low-income neighborhood—still filled with beautiful brownstones, once the nation's fifth wealthiest community and the heart of the American Industrial Revolution—now struggles with poverty and abandoned buildings, health and nutrition problems, the neglect and criminalization of its residents. There is a dire need for empowering education.

Newspapers and television only report on the disasters here, such as fires, floods and murders. There is a crying need for positive—or at least honest—representations of the North Troy community, which like any other is  filled with families who share good times and bad, hope and despair, and… love.

Teenagers and young adults from North Central Troy will learn, through media arts and interdisciplinary education grounded by real-life cultural experiences, to integrate art and independent thinking into their lives. They will combine individual and collective points of view, and develop critical independent learning and professional skills essential in the “information age.”


For those without the ability to be recognized or listened to, media-making projects at their core offer the power to be heard. Through recognition that they will truly have a personal voice, and that their voice will be heard, participants will be genuinely committed to realize their goals.

“Youth Media Sanctuary” aims to help bridge the digital divide, both in terms of immediate outcomes and as a call to the future. We hope to give voice to, and access to the voices of, a chronically under-served population—the youth of North Central Troy.  Though we're starting modestly with a partner in our own neighborhood, we envision decentralized production facilities throughout the Capital Region filled with youths acquiring the diverse interdisciplinary skills necessary to become distinguished independent media makers with the passion to pass their knowledge on.   The result will give voice to the local North Central Troy community, which will resonate from the local to the global.

Check out these aspiring media makers in action:

Madena, learning shots with Ellie (Photo: Abby Lublin)

Diana shooting Hoosick, on median


Check out blog for updpates on the latest workshops, including photos, curriculum, reflections, and even snack recipes!


YMS artist/educators and peer trainers are honored to take a leadership role in Capital Region Youth Voices: A Youth Media Project.  Our goal is to continue expanding our Youth Media Sanctuary program, having the participants learn media literacy and produce work about their experiences living in the Capital Region.

Capital Region Youth Voices: A Youth Media Project is part of Project VoiceScape, launched by WMHT, PBS and Adobe Foundations to encourage middle and high school students nationwide to use digital media tools in creating compelling stories about issues and concerns important to them. Youth Media Sanctuary is a project of Media Alliance, the non-profit media arts organization located at The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, NY.  As part of this effort, YMS peer trainers will create new video productions for Capital Region Youth Voices: A Youth Media Project. YMS educators will also teach media arts production to teachers and students of Tech Valley High School in Rensselaer, NY.

These new youth media productions will be featured on the Award-winning PBS POV website and at PBS Teachers.


 Fall '10 Youth Media Workshop

In collaboration with Missing Link Street Ministry, funded by The Louis and Hortense Rubin Community Fellowship and NYSCA Arts Education Projects: Community-based Learning.

Left: Jonathan, Kayleara, and Diana checking footage of Hoosick Street; Right (starting at top left) Kayleara, Jonathan, Madena, Antonio, Chelsea, Denise. Photos: Ellie Markovitch.

Check out weekly reports from the Fall'10 Youth Media Workshop, to follow our process with photos and youth participant reflections!


Youth Media Sanctuary Update: end of Project 1

Here's an update at the end of Youth Media Sanctuary Project #1:

We have successful completed the first phase of our Youth Media Peer Training workshop at The Sanctuary for Independent Media. After beginning in the summer with initial research, script-development and pre-production activities, the local youth participants started their fall workshop schedule andproduced seven short video portraits of their community. 

Our first day: Intro to script writing!

Shedding light on key issues effecting their lives, they've focused on violence,family, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, urban decay and poverty, and a need for health, safety and positive education.  They've opened up, many for the first time, to share their hopes and fears.  They've worked with Missing Link Street Ministries, and documented North Central Troy neighborhood sites.

While focusing on story-telling and teaching documentary techniques, the youth have also had introductory training in production and post-production.  This includes script development and media literacy, as well as an introduction to many aspects of production through basic camera skills, sound and lighting, visual composition, and interviewing techniques. 

In post-production, they are learning about the art of editing, composing and editing sound, and an introduction to the professional editing software "final cut pro." 

The youth are excited and committed, and this is a profound learning experience for them!  Our Media Arts/Educators team is also deeply committed to the project, and bring broad expertise in diverse realms to the youth participants, including creative writing, communications, visual composition, media literacy, media production, peer-training education.Production on the Streets of North Central Troy:  documenting their vision, working collaboratively as a crew, developing camera techniques and learning through action!

Kayleara Videotaping her Grandma Kayleara works with her Grandma to shoot her video portrait, "My Grandma's Suitcase."

We are now transitioning to the second phase of Youth Media Sanctuary, where we will collectively create a documentary of North Central Troy. We will integrate the portraits from Phase 1 with the documentary from Phase 2, and as part of the workshop the Peer Trainers and Media Arts/ Educators will strategize together how to distribute their videos  to most effectively communicate their ideas to as great of an audience as possible.  The youth will also offer a public presentation later in December at The Sanctuary.

Here's some Youth Media Sanctuary reflections: What were your first impressions, and  specific things have you learned?  What did you do today? What does it feel like to make your own media?

  • Jonathan Garrow:  "Today I was a director for the first time.  I chose where to shoot and what to shoot.  This program takes kids off the street and shows them there's more out there.  This program teaches us that we can make everyday things that interest us happen right before our eyes."

  • Madena Henderson:  "I find what we're learning interesting.  I like all my peer/fellow workers. Today I learned how to log and capture film, and I learned about different shots."



  • Diana Martinez: "In this program so far I have experienced alot.  Today I took low angle shots on Hoosick Street while tons of cars beeped and honked horns as I filmed.  Since I've been in this program when I watch tv or movies I now know what kind of shots they are using."


  • Chelsea Kereszi: "My reflection of this project is that it is an exercise that is useful for many reasons: working together,exploring the streets of Troy, understanding the architecture. Today I shot the buildings and churches down the street comparing the different types of styles and buildings."
  • Antonio Pabón: "I think this place [the Sanctuary for Independent Media] really chill and pretty fun.  Today we went out and got more shots for the two videos.  I learned the names of different shots, and I'm starting to get a better understanding of media."

  • Nijear (Denise's son): "Today I was a director for Madena's video.  I helped set-up shots around the Missing Link church."

Youth Media Sanctuary

November 3rd, 2010

Antonio and Chelsea under the Hoosick St. bridge in the rain.

Hey, this is Antonio and Chelsea.  We just wanted to update you on what we have been up to here at the Sanc. This week we made web reflections on our feelings and outlooks of North Central Troy. The group brain-stormed on all the different aspects of the neighborhood we face everyday. It made us look at the different things from eachother's point of view. Here are some themes we discovered in our communities:


Kinship: community,nieghbors,friends,family,church,school. Positive stories-sports, after school activities, The Sanctuary, Pastor Willie.

Police brutality: abuse authority, no consequences, dont take care of whats important, over react.

Segregation:class,color,neighborhoods,hoosick,way of life,transportation,individual.

Teen pregnancy:sexual ads,no parental advice,peer pressure,at home issues,trying fit in,under the influence.

Getting hassled:being followed,being questioned,sexism,younger women being targeted,powerless.

Also, we all watched youth media videos and the one that stood out the most to us was about Sean Bell. That video touched us because it showed us how kids younger the we are can be passionate about makeing films and expressing their opinions about the police brutality that was happening in their neighborhood.

*If you want to watch this video or others like it go here:


Lights, Camera, Interview!

November 10th, 2010

Studio interview set-upHey, this is Kayleara coming at you with the blog today! Yesterday we had lots of fun learning about the studio interview set-up. Andrew taught us how to set up the lighting, the different mics (lavalier and shotgun), the XLR cables, and we each took turns on the camera filming and being interviewed in the hot seat. We learned about the white balance on the camera and when and how to use it. We also decorated our background with markers, ribbons, and polka-dotted elephants! We had an awesome time!

Kayleara on the camera

Our reflections from today's workshop:

Kayleara:  “Today I learned about interviewing and lighting. I also learned about different kinds of microphones to use during interviews. I feel smarter and I’m excited that I’m learning interviewing skills, lighting, and how to set up a camera. I never knew learning was so much fun.”

Jonathan working the cameraJonathan:  “Today I learned about lighting and interviewing criteria. To me this stuff is interesting and makes me explore parts of my mind that are unused. Their stuff [video media] always seemed very tricky, but today I learned the process is actually very easy.”

Antonio holding FooAntonio:  “I learned a little bit about lighting. Normally it seems like an annoying thing to do, but the lighting is easy in a way. I think I’ll probably have fun with the lighting and interviews.”

Madena smiling and interviewed by ChelseaMadena:   “Today I had a lot of fun! I also feel like I’m learning everyone’s personal story. I learned about lighting and I learned about different microphones and cables.”

Diana being interviewed in hot seatDiana:  “Today we focused a lot on interviewing, such as how to interview a person and what type of questions work best when you are interviewing someone. We also learned about lighting and how to go about different shots during an interview. Today was an interesting day. I learned a lot of new things that can and will be very beneficial on my part.”

Denise:   “Today we learned about the camera. We also did a little interviewing. Also I think it’s fun and I can’t wait ‘til tomorrow!”

Chelsea:  “Today we reviewed aspects of studio production. We discussed lighting, the different microphones, white balance, and interviewing techniques. The individual skills each one of us brings to the table all works well together. I’m super excited to get this rolling. My favorite thing is interviewing!”

...and we had guest guidance from Ira, a local filmmaker, producer, and activist:

Ira posing as YMS participants reflectIra:   “I have hope that the youth of today will show their views through film and shine the light on the things that need to be addressed.”



More about Youth Media Sanctuary

Media Alliance is partnering with the Missing Link Street Ministry (a community-based organization that runs “Feed-A-Kid” and several after-school programs in their building across the street from ours).  So far, we've offered a prototype youth media summer camp held in 2008, a pilot peer-training program in Spring '10, and a Summer '10 script-writing workshop. We've followed up in Fall '10 with an in-depth, sequential learning project to develop and support local youth media artists and to educate them as peer-trainers.  

Check out the following production"A Child Having Child"s of the Youth Media Sanctuary pilot program:

View the video: “A Child Having A Child," with Denise Ramos ; Read the press release; View and download photos.

View the video: “Street Rebels” with Alvin Gyles. (sample edit, final edit to be uploaded soon).


For more information about project participants, click here:

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