Podium’s model of intervention is to Educate. Empower. Transform. This focuses on understanding values and experiences, collaboration, and empowering youth through active learning and engagement in planning, choice, and reflection. Programs meet weekly for either two hours once a week, or one hour twice a week, depending on the age of youth participants and capacity of our community partners. Most important to the spirit of Podium is youth leadership and voice. Youth are the ultimate decision makers, and because of their input, Podium offers programs year-round, professional internships, and leadership conferences. All programs end with a showcase and/or publication of work produced. Podium’s 3-Tier approach stems from youth participating year after year, creating a need for higher expectations. Annually, Podium serves over 500 youth and provides over 400 hours of service.
Teen Professional Development
The Teen Professional Conference is a multi-day summer program that creates a space for teen leaders from across Richmond to interact with each other while engaging in professional development and advanced writing workshops. Youth practice critical thinking through writing and advanced group dynamics. Networking with professionals across fields, youth connect their passions and skills with careers as they plan for post-graduation. Additionally, Podium hosts the Writing Mentorship Project (WMP). WMP allows high school upperclassmen to participate in a 5-week intensive summer internship that expands their skills in professional confidence. Teen leaders create writing workshops to facilitate within summer programs for ages 10-14, as well as develop skills in group dynamics and project management. WMP interns have mentored youth from The Peter Paul Development Center, taught workshops at the Full STEAM Ahead Conference, worked with middle schoolers at Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, and much more. This opportunity to mentor peers empowers teens as leaders and helps them discover their career passions and pathways to success. This internship has the potential to be paid thanks to the Mayor’s Youth Academy.
Programs for Youth Ages 14 - 19
Youth programs for ages 14-19 are designed to not only develop writing skills, but also instill a genuine love of the written form. The Power of the Pen and Creative Expression Collective promote academic, professional, and creative skill building through writing and communication activities. This includes college preparation, prose writing, and generalized skill building for healthy communication and self expression. Collegiate and Professional Prep Course helps to prepare upperclassmen for post-graduation. Youth draft college applications, personal statements, resumes, scholarship essays, and much more. Here, youth are also able to practice professional and university interviews. Throughout these programs, youth are encouraged to participate in sharing and receiving critique on any pieces of art, written or otherwise, that they have created. Thus, helping to build youth confidence, writing proficiency, and comradely between peers of all walks of life. All of these programs meet on-site at high schools and youth community centers throughout Richmond. With these programs, youth have a chance to be published in a number of semi-annual ‘zines and yearly journals that are distributed within program sites and the city!eed
Programs for Youth Ages 10 - 14
For youth programs ages 10-14, Podium partners with Boys & Girls Club of Richmond, Higher Achievement, NextUpRVA, and The YMCA to offer youth workshops that show the value of writing and self expression in the modern world. Programs such as Project Write Now! and The Teen Scene promote wellness, self expression, identity, and confidence through focused and fun workshops. There, youth discuss ideas about identity, culture, and community while also learning the basics of several writing forms. Similarly, The Weekly Word expands a love of writing and communication by growing confidence with journalism and broadcasting Healthy Communications for English Language Learners creates a space for those learning English to express and process experiences in both English and their native languages and to build healthy communication practices. This programs can also serve those who use English as their primary language, with a focus on community building and healthy communication. The STEAM Machine takes an active approach to expanding writing and communications skills while exploring topics of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. All of these programs meet on-site at middle schools and youth community centers through Richmond. Through these programs, youth have a chance to be published in a number of semi-annual ‘zines and yearly journals that are distributed within program sites and the city!