Making Waves is an educational youth radio initiative that empowers teens to share their true stories. The program guides high school and college students through the process of creating radio journalism pieces by building their skills in writing, interviewing, editing and voicing. In the spirit of programs like Radio Rookies and NPR Youth Radio, Making Waves provides students with a forum to share perspectives that are relevant to the community at large.  

Making Waves is not just a journalism workshop. Making Waves is a safe but challenging place for students to explore the social issues that are important to them, and to understand how they can make a difference through storytelling. We're encouraging vulnerability, openness, and difficult dialogues about topics like racial justice, class, gender, religion, sexuality, mental health and feminism. At Making Waves, we see truth telling as a radical act of courage and listening as a radical act of empathy. The Making Waves curriculum is rooted in feminist pedagogy and aims to promote self-authorship through engaged, student-focused, experiential learning

During the Making Waves program, students will:
●  Produce one reported story and one personal essay.
●  Correctly use broadcast-quality audio recording equipment.
●  Correctly use audio editing and production software.
●  Conduct professional interviews by listening actively and formulating follow-up questions.
●  Identify important aspects of self, and take ownership of their intersectional identities.
●  Examine how their personal identities shape how they see the world and how the world sees them.
●  Assess, critique and improve the quality of their work and the work of their peers.
●  Engage in respectful, productive discussions about identity and social issues.

Making Waves launched in February 2015 with five students from Rock Bridge High School. In August 2016, our program transitioned from working primarily with high school students to working primarily with first year college students. Our 15-week program consists of structured lessons interspersed with guest speakers and “listening sessions” where students are introduced to various forms of audio storytelling. Students will work on producing one This I Believe personal essay and one four-minute reported feature story throughout the semester. The completed stories will be posted on our website, and some will air on KBIA, Columbia's NPR member station.   

It is very important to us that the students in this program feel a strong sense of community. For the students to feel comfortable digging into the complex issues we hope they address in their stories, Making Waves must be a safe space where they can be vulnerable with one another. Throughout the semester we’ll put a significant focus on creating an empowering, open, supportive group dynamic.  

It's a little bit kitschy, we know. Give us a break. The name Making Waves emphasizes the word "making." Our program's main focus is the storytelling process (and the personal development that happens along the way), not the final product. And the phrase "Making Waves" means upsetting the status quo. With each of our stories, we hope to make listeners think about something they've never thought about before. We want our reporters and our listeners to break out of their comfort zones. 

"Sharing honestly and vulnerably can really connect people. It allows you to be empathetic. Whether it’s on the radio where other people can hear or just in your day to day life, I think that we, as a whole, need to be more open. We need to tell each other more things that are hard for us to talk about." –Delaney Tevis, reporter spring 2015

"I think that for me in my life, the times when my opinions have been challenged and I’ve grown the most have been when other people have shared stories with me and it’s affected the way I think about things." –Madison Wright, reporter fall 2015

"I came here because I wanted to find an outlet for my voice. Media is so important in shaping and developing peoples’ reality, and I want to be part of that. I want to learn to listen with the intent to understand rather than to refute, so just listening to stories is really radical and important. And I think radio is a great place to start." –Mariah Doze, reporter fall 2015

"My favorite part was how secure I felt in sharing my stories. Although I was making a story for public radio, it never felt that way. We were all discussing some pretty heavy topics, and you created a really intimate and safe space to disclose our thoughts." –Michele Yang, reporter spring 2015