Over the past few years, our LGBTQ community has made significant strides to advance its civil rights and visibility. Consequently, LGBTQ youth are coming out earlier, and positive images and LGBT characters can be seen in major motion pictures and primetime television series on a routine basis. In the social and political realm, an increased number of openly gay elected officials are occupying leadership positions throughout the country, providing a sense of hope and inspiration for the upcoming generation of LGBTQ youth leadership.
Despite this cultural shift, LGBTQ youth are still faced with unique challenges that impede their successful transition into adulthood. Without proper training, resources, caring professionals and supportive programs that assist them with this transition from adolescence into adulthood, LGBTQ youth are left to overcome a number of barriers to their chosen careers not otherwise experienced by their heterosexual counterparts.
To address some of this inequality and to ensure the voices of our community remain strong and visible, the Frontiers Awareness & Education Foundation has created the Diamonds in the Rough project to assist LGBTQ youth with an emphasis on underprivileged LGBTQ youth and allied youth of color. Diamonds in the Rough is a year-round journalism and
multimedia communications program that will instill individuals with the skills necessary to become tomorrow’s leaders.
With the support and collaborative involvement of community volunteers, the Frontiers Awareness & Education Foundation and Frontiers Media staff, the Diamonds in the Rough program will provide practical internships and mentorships in the fields of print and online publishing, photography, news reporting and creative digital production and advertising, to name a few. Additionally, a scholarship program will be established to provide financial assistance to those with limited means and financial resources.
The goals of the program are to strengthen and prepare the next generation of LGBTQ and allied professionals in the fields of journalism and multimedia communications, and to ensure the perpetuity and voices of our community through the following activities and service learning programs:
- Create a safe learning environment for LGBTQ youth interested in journalism and multimedia communications
- Provide knowledge and insight into the art and field of journalism and multimedia communications
- Promote skills relating to news reporting on issues pertaining to under-represented communities
- Develop online content, photography, digital advertising, photo journalism and publishing
- Increase news and computer literacy, communication skills, writing and reading comprehension
- Expose youth to cultural appreciation, community advocacy, organizing and public speaking
- Encouragement of post-secondary education and increase exposure to careers in these fields
- Increase the potential future employability of underprivileged LGBTQ and allied youth in this sector