NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As teenagers around the country organize rallies and walkouts this week in support of changing gun laws, students around the Tri-State Area are using cameras to get their messages out.
They’re also getting some welcomed help in making films to make their cases.
Kathleen Radtke isn’t rushing through her latest project at the Downtown Community Television Center, since she enjoys every minute of their professional youth media training. It’s also known as the “PRO-TV” program.
“I like being surrounded by people who like doing film,” the high school senior told CBS2.
Radtke attends the center’s program twice weekly, either after school or on the weekend. She and her peers learn all about what it takes to make a film.
“I like hearing other people’s stories,” she said. “I love that. It’s something I have always been interested in.”
The Park Slope teen is working on a project about puberty. Last year, she and her classmates attended the Women’s March in New York City where they interviewed participants and put together a nearly six-minute documentary about their experience.
“We got to hear their reasons for why they came to the march and what they hope to get out of it,” freshman Aracelie Cologne said.
Inside the decommissioned firehouse in Chinatown, the PRO-TV program teaches almost 2,000 kids how to shoot, write, and edit a movie.
The best part? It’s for free, paid for by grants.
“Students come and they learn how to create films that matter, that make a difference,” Associate Director Sade Falebita said. “They begin to understand their role of change makers in the community.”
The students come up with their own ideas, many of them are about issues that impact younger generations such as gun violence in schools. Justin Aguirre is working on a documentary about how young men can help in the #MeToo movement.
“I am looking to make a positive change in society and I figured film is the best way to change the narrative,” he said.
Almost all PRO-TV students graduate high school and attend college, many for film.
The program is open to students across the area, and they’re always looking to recruit more students. For more information, CLICK HERE.