New media program giving Chicago kids chance to break out in film, music, journalism

ByJasmine Minor WLS logo
Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Media program giving Chicago kids new opportunities
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YR Media Chicago is giving underserved kids a chance to break out in the film, music and journalism industries in Pilsen.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new media program has opened in the city.

It's giving underserved kids a chance to break out in the film, music and journalism industries.

They meet in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood.

Jesus Cortes, 18, illustrated storyboarding the moment he asked a girl out to homecoming.

It's part of his lesson of learning how to make a film.

"I really want to get a mini movie out, like make it look really professional," said Cortes, a YR Media student.

He said his dream is to be an actor and director. It's why he signed up for the free 12-week YR Media Chicago program.

"Media Arts, it's journalism, podcasting, video, film production, audio and music making," said Sergio Mojica, YR Media director of media education.

It's the first time the 30-year program has opened in Chicago, serving teens to young adults.

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"We try to go into underserved communities, and really amplify and elevate young people's voices," Mojica said.

Mojica said right now they have 15 students, but word of mouth has spread like wildfire. He said the program already has a waiting list for the next cohort.

"Within our core class, young people, when they finish the program, get a $300 stipend," Mojica said.

They also get a chance to earn up to $700 and get a paid internship if they continue.

"These are like really expensive headphones," YR Media student Donny Delraso said.

The students get access to high-tech equipment. Delraso said it's made all the difference in making music.

"Normally I do it off my phone, which is kind of difficult. But doing it on the computer, it's like I feel like I have a better grasp," Delraso said.

It gives students confidence to chase their dreams, including acting in the church play.

"I did it last year, but I didn't have any lines, but I'm looking forward to definitely getting a bigger role," Cortes said.