On April 22 PHC hosted its second online webinar for youth development professionals. Over 250 people across the state participated in a 90-minute session addressing Low-Tech and No-Tech ways to engage youth. The webinar acknowledged systemic barriers to technology access within communities of color and low-income families, shared strategies for staying connected with youth, and built collective agency.
Moderated by Dr. Valerie Adams-Bass, the panel featured Jeannine Cook from Philadelphia-based Harriett’s Bookshop, Kelly Rottmund from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and Emilia Autin-Hefner from FabYouthPhilly. Panelists answered questions from Dr. Adams and audience members who participated in the chat and shared the challenges, successes, and implications of moving to remote programming.
Maintaining relationships to address the social-emotional needs of youth was a central focus of the conversation. The discussion also touched on ideas for tapping intergenerational wisdom to bridge young people’s tech-savvy capabilities with elders’ experience with utilizing things like radio, the postal service, and the telephone. Each panelist shared valuable insights and represented the perspectives of a small business partner for community initiatives, a library afterschool program, and a youth-development organization.
Audience members remained engaged throughout the webinar, sharing ideas, resources, and contact information with one another. Resources and ideas from the audience and panelists are compiled here. The conversation concluded with a call to action for advocacy towards equitable access to technology and for solidarity in this moment where our interdependence is undeniable.
As our ways of programming and interaction shift in response to the pandemic, PHC is interested in understanding the bigger systematic issues that cultural producers and educators face in maintaining relationships with our community and keeping them connected to the humanities in ways that are vital to growth and development.