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By: Annette Flores on 06/05/2012
Freshly painted, eye-catching colors that evoke energy and creativity coat the walls of KJZZ’s SPOT 127 Youth Media Center, which is under construction in preparation for the launch of two summer sessions and an after-school program.
SPOT 127-- short for 127.0.0.1 and also Internet code for “home” -- is being designed by KJZZ and Rio Salado College to mentor and train Valley youth for careers in digital media. You can find additional back-story by visiting KJZZ.org.
The hallways and classrooms of the 7500-square-foot facility at 3701 W. Thomas Rd. in Phoenix are currently occupied by technicians and support staff who are busily renovating the building and installing equipment and furnishings in time for the center’s first set of summer school sessions. The first session began June 11 and the second session will begin July 9.
Each of the three-week-long summer sessions will provide instruction for up to 20 students who will learn the fundamentals of journalism and the technology used to report the news. Summer session hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and students will have access to a free, healthy lunch.
These two summer sessions will give staff a means of testing their curriculum and strategies before launching SPOT 127’s after-school program, which begins Aug. 13 and will be open to approximately 60 students on weekdays from 3:30-6:30 p.m. for 10 months out of the year.
The summer camp sessions and after-school program are open to all Valley high school students currently enrolled in school or pursuing a GED. Students interested in applying should begin by completing an online application at www.spot127.org.
“The primary goal for the youth media center is to greatly impact the lives of students in our community,” said Greg Pereira, SPOT 127’s Executive Director.
Pereira said SPOT 127 will fulfill that goal by “encouraging students to take an interest in their education; providing pathways to higher learning; building self-confidence and social skills; and teaching students how to produce compelling digital media. We’re talking about skills students will be able to use in any career-- throughout their lives.”
Pereira took on the role of executive director March 1 and has been working feverishly with local businesses and benefactors such as Rio Salado College, FITCH, Electrolux and the Carstens Family Fund to make SPOT 127 a home away from home for Valley teens. He’s also working with local agencies to recruit students.
“We are working with local high schools and community centers such as the YMCA and Boys and Girls Club to identify students who are a good fit for the program,” said Pereira. “We have an application process that will allow us to see what type of experience students have had in digital media, and more importantly, how passionate they are about this field.”
Pereira, a Portland, Oregon native, has had a long-standing affinity for broadcasting and community service. He hosted his own radio show while in college and never lost interest, even though he decided to devote his career to the health and human services sector-- most recently as Central Arizona Shelter Services Director of Programs and Shelters. There’s another motive for Pereira: “I am passionate about providing students with the mentoring and support that I desperately wanted but did not have when I was growing up."