Akaku YBEAM Youth Alumni Get Real World Training


Alumni of Akaku Maui Community Television’s youth program will now have an opportunity to gain field production work in the real world. Graduates of Akaku’s Youth Broadband Education & Awareness Mentoring training certification (YBEAM) will have the opportunity to use their skills as participants in Akaku Youth Media Exchange (AYME), taking their training to the next level.

Kat Tracy, Akaku’s Director of Education and YBEAM, said she saw a gap that needed to be filled in the training of the youth–they were lacking real work experiences. “After 20 plus years as a freelance producer, I recognize the value of putting one’s training to use in a real world environment,” Tracy said. “I remember reading an interview from Kevin Spacey where he talked about mentoring under Jack Lemmon and being told, ’When you reach the apex of your career it is incumbent for you to “send the elevator back down”.’ I feel I’m able to do that through our YBEAM and AYME initiatives. I’m beyond stoked to offer the community a chance to support our youth producers and benefit as well! Win, win!”

AYME youth will be producing mobile field stories in their communities with professional mentoring – and they will be offered stipends for their work. The program is unique in that community partners who utilize youth talents by participating in the AYME will supply the stipend. That funding–which goes directly to the youth–matches Akaku’s stipend 50-50.

Akaku also will provide mentoring, equipment, transportation, administrative support and a meal to working youth producers assigned a story.

“This program will help Akaku realize its goal of finding employment in new media for our keiki while serving non-profits and businesses at the same time,” says Jay April, CEO and President of Akaku.

YBEAM was spearheaded with a Federal BTOP grant designed to teach youth broadband principles through video production in an all mobile environment. Youth producers shoot, edit and distribute stories from the field. The stories ultimately end up on both the internet and Akaku cable channels. Both programs are supported by Akaku and grants from The Fred Baldwin Foundation, The Atherton Foundation and the Bank of Hawaii Mike Lyons Maui Community Award. YBEAM is still offered free for youth ages 12-19 yrs.

To watch the stories produced by the youth program, visit mauitube.org or watch cable channel 55. For information about applying to YBEAM or about being an AYME partner please contact Kat Tracy of Akaku at 808-871-5554.

Photo (courtesy of YBEAM): Tabitha Blessum interviews Skippy Hao at the Maui Ocean Center Turtle Release