When Brooke Hopper was a Student Support Coordinator at Parsons High School in Parsons, Kansas, she had an idea. What if more opportunities existed for students to share their stories? What if adults chose to listen to kids more? “A lot of us don’t know what it’s like to be a teenager,” said Brooke. “Teenagers are confronted with many issues that [we] didn’t have to experience when we were younger.” Brooke decided that one of the things she could do would be to create a podcast where these voices and experiences could be heard. In a conversation with her niece, she heard that “adults want to tell us to live our lives, but they just don’t want to give us a seat at the table.” As a result, Empower Podcasting, a service of CIS of Mid-America, created “A Seat at the Table,” a podcast by young people for young people.
Communities In Schools of Mid-America has a long history of empowering students to achieve in school and succeed in life. We have been rooted in schools for over twenty-five years, ensuring that they have what they need, whether basic needs like snacks and hygiene products to community referrals, tutoring, and a listening ear; we have been and continue to be “All in for Kids.”
CIS of Mid-America is now extending that “listening ear” to our audience – parents, teachers, students, volunteers, and others – who are committed to supporting students. A Seat at the Table is a podcast that we hope will inspire students to become change-makers in their communities and inspire adults to hear from and learn from a younger generation. In the podcast’s first episode, Brooke visited the school where she worked as a Student Support Coordinator. Interviewing several students, as well as a faculty member, they talked about social media and the effect that it can have on young people.
Listening to the voices of younger people is essential. Younger voices often bring new and fresh perspectives to the table. Because of their different life experiences and cultural backgrounds, they are on the front lines of creating innovative ideas and potential solutions to society’s major issues. After all, students like those featured on the podcast are our future leaders. By listening to their voices, we can better understand their needs and aspirations and ensure that decisions are made with their future in mind.
Listening to the voices of younger people is about empowerment. It signals to students that their ideas and opinions matter. This can increase confidence and engagement in school, home, and community.
We invite you to join Brooke as she connects with the students served by Communities In Schools of Mid-America. Episodes are now available on Apple Podcasts and Amazon Music or visit the link below to get started.
Brooke ended her first episode by thanking the students who participated and the students listening to the podcast. “We hope you leave this episode feeling encouraged and confident in yourself and your abilities,” she said. “Whether that means you have the energy to clean your room or conquer the world now, we are proud of you. Now get going! Go use your powers for good.”
Listen to the trailer and episode 1 of “A Seat at the Table” on Simplecast. Click here!