Keith Hefner and Betsy Cohen of Youth Communication discuss their 40-year-old organization. Professional editors help students develop personal stories, which are shared with their peers. Writers experience self-reflection, readers develop empathy and gain strength from knowing others’ experiences, and teachers acquire better understanding of their students. Youth Communication also offers curricula and materials for teachers to implement.


Youth Communication provides free resources based on true stories by NYC teens to support remote learning. They Include: 

  • Story-based lessons for English Language Arts instruction (subscribe here) 
  • Virtual Workshops to support social and emotional learning strategies (register here)
  • Inside Voices: stories from NYC youth about their experiences in the pandemic  (subscribe here)

Information about their professional development and curriculum offerings can be found in this Partnership Brochure.


00:00-00:41 Intros

00:42-01:40 Why Youth Communication exists and how it works

01:42-03:52 The stories’ effects on peers

03:53-11:27 The writing and editing process

11:28-13:39 How editors work students who want to write something that is bigoted

13:40-18:00 Looking through an ethical lens

18:01-20:31 How teachers use YC programs and materials

20:32-24:28 How teachers gain insight into the lived experiences of their students

24:29-30:06 Challenges teachers face in implementing the program

30:07-32:04 Role of principals/administrators

32:05-39:07 How the program helps teens with grief and isolation during pandemic

39:08-40:30 Outro 


Click here to see the full transcription of the episode. 


Soundtrack by Podington Bear

Photo: Youth Communication (Facebook)