handing the mic to the youth

Photo of Shaulita Francis
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Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Facebook - Shaulita Francis, Instagram - Struggling_Naturalist

Date Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Idea (hoping to get started in the future)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

I always wanted to invest in my community but I didn't know in what capacity. It wasn't until last month that it finally hit me. One day my friend randomly invited me to assist as a co-host on his SoundCloud podcast. I was very nervous going into the situation but besides my hesitation I agreed to join. After the show, I felt this overwhelming feeling of joy, empowerment and a sense of liberation. I felt like I had found a voice and a space where I was comfortable to express my thoughts. Then I started thinking how can I continue this, how can I bring it back home to Boston but most importantly how do I get youth involved. Then it hit me! Why not develop a space like this for the youth in my neighborhood? I wanted them to feel as empowered as I did after that show and out of this the idea of Mic'd Up was birthed.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

The neighborhood in which I live, faces many challenges, among those challenges is the constant cycle of poverty and violence that the youth often fall into. They fall into these cycles because of the lack of resources, outlets and the absence of people in their lives reminding them they are bigger than their environment. Solving this problem not only indirectly affects violence and poverty but also raises up a generation of empowered youth.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

I plan on solving this problem by creating an outlet! I want to work alongside youth to develop an online space via SoundCloud, Apple PodCast or Youtube where they feel liberated to speak on topics important to them. These topics can range from unfortunate realities like gun violence to the newest songs in hip hop. Outside of the online platform, we also hope to host small events such as open mics where youth feel like their voices are being heard. My main goal is to provide an outlet for the youth in which they are heard and empowered.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Hypothetically speaking, it is May 6th 2018 and the eccentric artist, Donald Glover best known as Childish Gambino has just dropped his new joint "This Is America" on Saturday Night Live. It instantly went viral and everyone is talking about it. The youth in Dorchester have a lot to say about the music video and it's relevancy to their lives. They present this topic to the Mic'd Up team and after getting to know the youth and running them through our procedures they get on the air and co-host an hour long segment.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

It is youth led! My vision is that youth become the ones driving the show and making this online space their own.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

My project is still in the beginning stages but my partner and I recently conducted a focus group with youth in my neighborhood to see if this was something they wanted. Our focus group made us realize that a platform to freely express themselves is something that the youth wanted and needed. They had very profound insight and feedback. Looking ahead as we grow, we plan on tracking our impact based on the number of viewers/listeners but also in the way the youth engage with the content we produce.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

The next step in making this idea into a reality is building a team of 5-7 youth who are interested and committed to helping us shape how this space will look. To help us pick a platform, create a structure and spread the word.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

Team of Youth Physical Space Equipment Social Media pages Logo/graphics Marketing Strategies Funding

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

My hopes for this project for it to be totally youth led and that one day Mic'd Up can provide employment for the youth in my neighborhood.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc) (8)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Low-income community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media


Join the conversation:

Photo of Jean Black

THIS IS VERY NEEDED! Our projects are pretty similar when it comes to giving youth an outlet and way to express themselves, in order toempower the youth and eliminate violence. I would love to see the progression of your enterprise and support or collab in some way. Please contact me if you would be interested in connecting. and best wishes to you!


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