Originally published 11.27.08
Written by Jesse Muhammad
For the last year I have served as the senior editor for For Youth Teens & Young Adult Newspaper, which has been the largest high school and college paper in the city of Houston. If you have never read one edition of this paper, please go and catch up on the website after you read this blog. (smile)
This month we celebrated the one year anniversary so let me take you briefly through how it all got started.
Just a little over a year ago, young man who was 16 years of age at the time had an idea in his head that he believed could help his peers. He took that idea to his father. That day they would converse, brainstorm, and even at times debate over that concept which his father backed one thousand percent.
That idea was to produce a newspaper. Not just any newspaper. But one that was solely focused on highlighting the great accomplishments of youth, teens and young adults.
Why was this important to this father and son duo?
Because many media outlets tend to lean on the negative activity of young people and rarely highlights their successes. Also there were thousands of students sitting in classrooms, shooting hoops at the court or playing video games, who were in dire need of some form of inspiration.
That inspiration in part would come from that idea whose time had come. For Youth Teens & Young Adult Newspaper, passionately referred to as FYTYA, was born November 2007. The brainchild of now 17-year-old Jr. Publisher Keith J. Davis Jr. aka K.Jerâ€™Rod. His father is Keith J. Davis Sr. aka â€œMr. D-Marsâ€.
Based upon my passion for youth and a journalistic background, I was brought on board as the senior editor. A lot of work was ahead to grow this paper.
The first edition highlighted the Texas Jamboree Basketball showcase along with a few extraordinary students from multiple campuses. Parents were smiling from ear to ear as they saw their children on the cover of a newspaper for the first time. The second edition focused on two great persons, Page Parkes and Dr. Freeman of TSU, for their great work in grooming the next generation of leaders in the arts. That hot cover also bore the face of actor Denzel Washington, who had just made a trip to the city.
In January, Pastor J adorned the cover to as he prepared to open the D-Spot Youth Center in Southwest Houston. That issue would also have articles by several budding student writers who would eventually join the writing team. February showcased the winners of the FYTYA Top 23 Under 23 contest along with giving readers the tools necessary to unleash their gifts and talents. In the midst of the NCAAâ€™s March Madness, that monthâ€™s edition featured the financial wisdom of young millionaire Farrah Gray on why youth must build wealth now.
In April, after a huge partnership was created with the University of Phoenix, the pages of that edition focused on life as a college student and critical career moves. The month of May taught you how to market yourself, get connected and get involved. With summer approaching, June was a time to share ways to not waste a way the whole summer but yet still have fun. And since summer can add a few pounds, â€œYour Health is Your Wealthâ€ was the theme of July to advocate healthy living and eating among our readers.
School was back in, so we launched the back to school special edition for August to help get young back in the stride of getting their education. In September we tested your leadership characteristics and in October we pushed you to achieve your dreams and aspirations.
To many, this newspaper has been more than just printing and distribution but has electrified a movement. We have attended numerous events, school functions, rallies, games, socials, and more over this last year to get every edition into the hands of as many youth as possible. On a monthly basis, students from various school districts have either been highlighted or have contributed an insightful article. Adult experts have shared their useful knowledge on various topics as well.
â€œWe have been able to accomplish a lot over the last year and I am honored that we have been able to impact so many livesâ€, said K. Jerâ€™Rod. â€œWe have reached a great feat but now itâ€™s time to take it to the next level. Readers can expect even more exciting things from FYTYA over this next year. Keep reading and supporting us!â€
â€œBut we know we can not do it without youâ€, he said.