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The YouthLearn Initiative

The YouthLearn Initiative consists of a comprehensive website, a growing online community, a free electronic newsletter, and an extensive manual called The YouthLearn Guide. The YouthLearn Initiative meets the needs of providing after school instructors and classroom teachers with creative materials for use with technology, media and project-based programs.

In 2001, the Morino Institute and the Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) entered into a strategic partnership to help ensure the long-term growth and advancement of the YouthLearn Initiative. The Education Development Center, Inc. now champions YouthLearn as a national center of excellence on youth, learning, and technology anchored around the original Initiative’s approach.

The following youth programs are examples of the many programs that can be found on the YouthLearn Initiative website at in addition to other resources.

Appalachian Media Institute (AMI)

“In 1988, Appalshop staff members founded the Appalachian Media Institute (AMI), a media training program for central Appalachian youth.  Using the technological and artistic resources of Appalshop, AMI helps young people explore how media production skills can be used to ask, and begin to answer, critical questions of themselves and their communities.”


AMI Strives To:

  • Build the confidence levels and creative capacity of central Appalachian youth
  • Position youth from central Appalachia as initiators of dialogue and social action around crucial community issues
  • Highlight rural voices and to inform national audiences and diverse communities of the unique challenges that face rural Appalachian communities
  • Enable our participants to become informed, tolerant, and engaged citizens and to recognize the interconnections between central Appalachia and the rest of the world


Please visit the Appalachian Media Institute (AMI) at and the Appalshop at


Global Youth at Video Machete

Unfortunately, Global Youth at Video Machete, is no longer operable but provides an excellent example of many of the urban youth programs that are currently functioning in Chicago and the Chicagoland area. Video Machete’s Global Youth program gave inner-city immigrant youth the opportunity to tell their stories and give voice to their experiences through video. The Chicago-based Video Machete also created a kit of resources for other media educators and schoolteachers interested in using media and community engagement as teaching tools. Video Machete was an inter-generational collective of activists, students, and media artists who are committed to cultivating images, ideas, and words that transform our communities, raise consciousness, and generate collective analysis and action.

Global Youth at Video Machete was very similar to the programs taking place at the AMI. There are other similar initiatives in Chicago that allow youth to utilize technology as digital and social media tools for civic and community engagement.

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