Meet our first round of winners for The Ism Youth Files

MediaRites presents our first round of submissions, we’ve selected the first five winners chosen for The -Ism Youth Files, a new project of mental health stories by youth including an e-book and resource toolkit and four nationally distributed 30-minute podcasts and short form films called “Choreo-Poems.” Our project is a response to the isolation of youth and its effect on mental health in BIPOC and disability communities (ages 12-21).

The selected pieces are:

Pandemic 2021″ by Deandre Avant, age 20

I’m Deandre Avant (he/him). I was born and raised here in Boston, Massachusetts. I have three brothers, four sisters, two nieces and two nephews. I went to Boston Arts Academy for five years as a Visual Arts major. I also worked for the Boch Center as a Dancer for three summers. Now I work for Teen Empowerment as a Dancer for two years including summers. The plans I have for my future are to be a very successful architect and get married to my girlfriend. Be able to make all the money in the world so I can buy numerous things including a house. Also to have my own dance studio for youth to be able to have a space to build careers and better my city.

Ripped From the Arms of Logic and Knocking on the Neighbor’s Door for the Spare Key” by Niko Boskovic, age 20

Niko, age 20, lives in Portland, Oregon. As a child, he underwent a lot of therapy to treat his autism, but never really needed most of it. Niko finds that he is best able to express his lived experience through poetry, and has been published in Montana Mouthful; Lunch Ticket’s Amuse-Bouche: Spotlight; In Parentheses Magazine; and The Pointed Circle.

COVID: We Went Through That” by Journeya, age 17

I’m Journeya, and at this moment, I am 17 years old. I live in Mystic Connecticut with my soul companions Callie the talkative cat, Jasper the energetic beagle, and all of my wonderfully joyous plant friends. Fun fact: I live right by the famous Mystic Pizza and walk by it from time to time. 

Smile” by Ella Celko. age 12

Ella is in the sixth grade at Childpeace Montessori School.  She lives in Portland with her parents, brother, and two cats.  She enjoys drawing and playing with her cats.  She also loves sushi and macarons.

Get Up” by Roodley Merilo, age 17

Roodley is a Haitian-American senior at New London high school that hopes to become an accomplished writer in the near future. Previous works have included writing 12 a.m. Thoughts for Writer Block INC as well as being commisioned for a piece with F.R.E.S.H. In his free time Roodley likes to take pictures for his community and is an ECC all-star for his track and field team. They’d like to thank Joshua Brown and Juanita Wilbur for nurturing his writing career. 


Send in your youth writing for a new project of youth stories about challenges, hopes and dreams to be included in an e-book, four nationally distributed 30-minute podcasts and short form films!

Deadline – Mar. 15th 2022. Read guidelines or submit your work here. 

The Peabody award-winning multicultural and multi-discipline production organization MediaRites is launching ROUND TWO of our submissions for a project responding to the isolation of youth, life challenges and its effect on youth mental health and well-being in BIPOC and disability communities (suggested ages 12-21).

The ISM Youth Files is looking for personal essays, monologues, poetry and short graphic novelettes for 1) an e-book collection o, 2) four 30-minute podcasts of youth stories, interviews and performances and 3) 2-3 minute films of performed poetry with movement. The e-book, podcast and films will be distributed free.

We accept submissions from youth around the country with an emphasis on Oregon youth. Each writing submission selected receives an honorarium payment of $100-$300. Additional payment for podcast readings or film appearances!