By KELSY LORIN TAYLOR
Web Editor and Feature Writer
SEED SOWERS: Students in the Youth Philanthropy Initiative gathered at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa to spread the word to other students about the impact that the media has on the self-perception of teenagers.
Courtesy Youth Philanthropy Initiative
The Youth Philanthropy Initiative, established in 2004 by Lynn Schusterman, provides an opportunity for Tulsa teens to become philanthropists and create positive changes within their communities. Members of the program worked together to bring a new topic to the Seed Sower’s Series this month, which has been held at the University of Oklahoma’s Tulsa campus.
Lindsay Pierce, chairwoman of the Outreach Committee of the Youth Philanthropy Initiative, is one of 18 members who are spreading the word to other students about the impact that the media has on the self-perception of teenagers.
The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation provided $50,000 to help the members make a difference in the community through their issue. “Lynn Schusterman encouraged us to come up with an issue that we felt was under-addressed.”
The Seed Sower’s Series focuses on a unique topic every year. This year, members of The Youth Philanthropy Initiative were chosen to organize and share the issue of the media as the topic of the event. The members brought together Media Expert Erin Walsh, University of Oklahoma Pediatrician Dr. Robert Block as well as representatives from the National Resource Center for Youth Services to help them in their mission to effectively share their topic with the community.
The series was composed of several lectures. In the first, Walsh described the impact that the media has on youth, families and communities. She shared her experiences of working with The National Institute on Media and the Family. In the second lecture, Dr. Block discussed the ways that the media poses various behavioral and health risks to the adolescent mind.
The final lecture had an introduction by representatives from The National Resource Center for Youth Services. Members of the Youth Philanthropy Initiative further explored the topic from a teen’s perspective while focusing on how to recognize and resist the media’s influences.
Pierce encourages all interested teens to become involved with the Youth Philanthropy Initiative. “It has taught me so much about myself and what I am capable of. I never thought that I would be a chairwoman for a committee. I go to meetings every week and have conference calls. I never thought that at 16, I would be making conference calls. Most importantly, the program has taught me how to be a leader.”
This is the first stepping-stone for the members of The Youth Philanthropy Initiative to increase awareness about their topic. “We are just kicking off our great adventure with the Seed Sower’s Series and getting this issue out there. There will be so much more that we do to reach out to teens in our community in the future.”
For additional information about the Seed Sower’s Series, visit tulsa.ou.edu. For more information about The Youth Philanthropy Initiative, visit www.ypitulsa.org.