The following audio stories were produced as audio assignments during my time at Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
Farzawan Chelozai has been living in a refugee camp in Hamburg, Germany since December 2015. She and her family are some of the many people who have come to Germany looking for safety and the promise of a new life, but their future in Germany is still very much unclear. While some in the camps are granted asylum status in a few months, others like Farzawan stay in the refugee camps for months and even years without knowing for sure if they can call Germany their new home.
This piece was produced as part of a collaboration project between Medill and the International Media Center in Hamburg, Germany. The project focused on stories about refugees and the issues they face.
Breaking the English Barrier
After fleeing violence in Syria in 2013, and spending two years in Egypt, the Al-Zoukani family resettled in Chicago in December of 2015. While the five children are adapting quickly to their new environment, their parents, Maher and Fatmh, consider English to be one of the biggest challenges in their new home. Both continue working as much as they can to improve so they can communicate, support their children and embrace a new culture.
Drill Team Bonds in Chicago's South Shore
In 1980, Arthur Robertson, showed four curious kids in his south side Chicago neighborhood dance drill team routine with a rifle. Thirty-six years later, the South Shore Drill Team has grown from four boys to a co-ed team of over 300 kids in the South Shore. Kevin Ray, DeSonni Hardge and Greg Burrell are past and present team members who have found a second family in the team.
Empowering Young Voters at Lincoln Park High School
In 1972, eighteen-year-olds were given the right to vote. Since then, young voters are really underrepresented at the polls. Caroline Colon-Weber, a teacher at Lincoln Park High School, is trying to change that. She usually helps her students register to vote, but this year, she’s taking that to the next level.
Colon-Weber organized a Walk to Rock the Vote, during which students who were eligible and willing walked from seventh period to Lincoln Park Library to vote. She also made sure her students were informed before they got there by providing information on everything that was up for a vote on the ballot.
From Heroin to Harm Reduction
Heroin use and abuse has become one of the biggest problems in the United States. According to the CDC, the rate of people dying from heroin-related overdoses in the U.S. almost quadrupled between 2002 and 2013. Puerto Rico is dealing with a substance abuse problem that correlates to those numbers.
Roberto Pereira is from Puerto Rico. He moved to New York with his girlfriend almost fifty years ago. That's where he was introduced to heroin. He was a user until he decided he was fed up with that lifestyle. Today, he helps other drug users learn responsible drug use practices like using new syringes and cotton. His work is motivated by all the preventable deaths of many of his friends who also shot heroin.
The Real Costs of Higher Education
Americans today owe about $1.2 trillion in student loans. With tuition prices rising every year, the idea of student loans can dictate what profession students choose to pursue and where people choose to go to school, if they decide to finish school at all. The fact that the total student debt in the United States is rising by more than $2,700 each second, a figure published by the Dow Jones-run news service MarketWatch, certainly doesn't help the problem.