Thursday, March 31, 2016

On Air with Radio VSA Texas

Hi blog readers! This is DJ April here to tell you about our exciting new internship opportunity for young adults with developmental disabilities. We have been partnering with KOOP 91.7 Hornsby Austin - Radio for People, Not for Profit to mentor transitioning age youth in the art of radio production. We piloted this project in Fall 2015 with Jorge Reyes, a young man who was finishing his last semester at ACC for Radio/Television/Film and needed an internship to fulfill his requirements to graduate. His semester at VSA Texas included working with Julie Retersdorf, another ACC student, Undercover Greg, a DJ at KOOP Radio, and me. Together Jorge and I attended KOOP volunteer training and apprenticed under Greg on the Reflections of Community Outreach show. With Julie, Jorge did research and recording for a podcast. Julie reflects on her time working with Jorge below:

“The morning that I first met Jorge he was very shy and did not make eye contact. As April described the project I could see Jorge begin to take deep slow big breaths as he ran his fingers through his hair. I could see that he was becoming slightly overwhelmed with the assignment. Instinctually I wanted to pat him on the back and tell him we would make this fun. But, I resisted the physical contact and we moved to our little space in a back room where we worked throughout the semester.

“First, we discussed a DJ name, and that seemed to lighten the stress. After some discussion he chose Star Lord. We spent some time listening to podcasts to explore their purpose, enthusiasm, and formatting of the speaker’s topic. The first podcast was to be about celebrities with Autism. He spent some time researching different actors but really enjoyed writing about Tim Burton and Temple Grandin. We took breaks from the writing and watched YouTube videos from the people he was going to speak about. After watching several trailers from Tim Burton, Jorge commented on how Tim’s creativeness revealed his feelings of being 'different in the world.' During the afternoons Jorge went to the KOOP radio station for recording instructions and practice.

Jorge at a local event recording session
“By the end of our time together, the discouragement and frustrations Jorge had initially experienced in the first weeks, had resolved. He demonstrated confidence in his podcast script choices and enthusiasm in wrapping up his ACC internship by recording the podcast in the radio studio.
I was thrilled for the opportunity I had to work at VSA Texas with Jorge and watch him gain confidence and enthusiasm. After graduation he hopes to go onto another internship in film and broadcasting to finalize plans for a future career. I learned a lot that I might not have ever known had it not been for this fieldwork. I’m hopeful it was a successful pilot program for VSA Texas and other students have a chance for this great experience.”

Jorge finishes his internship with VSA Texas and KOOP Radio.
(L-R: Undercover Greg, Julie Retersdorf, Jorge Reyes, April Sullivan)
Thanks to Julie and Greg for working with Jorge! We think it was a successful pilot program, and we are opening up the opportunity for 12 other young adults ages 15-22 to learn about radio production this summer in a two-week paid internship. See more details and the registration form on our website at deadline to apply is April 29th! We want to hear your voice on the radio!

Listen to Jorge’s PSA for KOOP Radio below:

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