Of all the Library programs, YOUmedia has always been one to spark the city’s attention. But in our interview with Jatziri Campos, its obivous why the award-winning program’s PROjectUS partnership has stolen the spotlight.
“I’ve always had an interest in photography since I was a little girl,” Campos started. As a senior at Muchin College Prep and YOUmedia student, she first learned about the program through Jeff, one of many YOUmedia mentors. “I went in asking Jeff if he could teach me how to use a professional camera,” she said. “I guess he saw that I was actually motivated to learn that he told me about PROjectUS.”
For those not yet familiar with the program, PROjectUS is a special initiative within YOUmedia at Chicago Public Library for young adults between the ages of 13-23. PROjectUS provides these young adults with opportunities to develop fashion design, music, and new media journalism skills while working alongside industry professionals to build a comprehensive portfolio. Opportunities are teen interest-driven, production-oriented and give participants real-world experience with each craft.
How does it work?
Teens apply and are selected to participate within a specific focus of PROjectUS. They participate in challenges and are led by mentors (photographers, fashion professionals, etc) who guide them throughout the program and collaborate with peers also in the program. College, career, and financial literacy are embedded into the curriculum – and participants have the chance to earn internships with professional clients.
“I went in not knowing what I was getting myself into,” the young photogrpaher laughed. “All I knew was that I liked photography and that was what I wanted to do.”
After talking about how you deliver what a client is looking for, her first camera-in-hand experience shooting a fashion show, and what it feels like to capture a moment with your lens, she shared one last insight you’d think would be well beyond her years: “When I first joined PROjectUS I was the youngest member. Being the youngest taught me that even though people are older than me that doesn’t mean that I can’t be friends with them and even guide them.”
YOUmedia offers teens a welcoming and collaborative environment to explore their personal interests as they relate to media, design, and STEM within the Library studio spaces – all while supported by the guidance of trained mentors. PROjectUS is an enhancement to YOUmedia, embodying the Library Foundation’s commitment to innovation and to those #dedciatedtothecurious.
We thank The HIVE Chicago Fund for Connected Learning, Chicago Community Trust, BMO Harris Bank, The Allstate Corporation, Comcast, Children’s Museum of Pittsburg, SCE, Inc., Terra Foundation for American Art, Motorola Solutions Foundation, Oppenheimer Family Foundation, Jewell Events and Catering & GLJ Leasing, and countless individual donors for their commitment and partnership in developing Chicago youth.