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Verizon Supports Public Radio Youth Website Project (5/7/02)

North Country Public Radio is pleased to announce a grant award from Verizon Foundation which will enable the station to work with area teenagers to develop an online space for youth. The project will use teenagers to brainstorm, create and maintain a website, with the North Country Public Radio web staff lending support and guidance.

"We are very grateful to the Verizon Foundation for this generous vote of confidence for the station and area youth," said Ellen Rocco, NCPR station manager. "The Verizon grant will allow teenagers to shape their own place on the web. There are so few youth centers and on-going youth oriented activities in our region. The dream is to provide isolated rural youth with a virtual gathering space-a space that will be real and meaningful because it is built by teens."

Three Verizon regions came together to sponsor the NCPR request of the Verizon Foundation: Syracuse, NY (including Central, NY and the North Country), led by Thomas Owens; Albany, NY (N. East NY State), Marion Mittler; and Burlington, VT, Beth Fastiggi.

"The Verizon Foundation is pleased to fund this exciting advanced
telecommunications, web-development project for teens in the North Country
and Vermont. NCPR has taken the lead to ensure young people in remote
regions can take part in today's exciting technology," said Thomas Owens, of Verizon's Syracuse office. "Verizon Foundation congratulates NCPR on their ambitious efforts to
develop this teen online project. Technology is a great equalizer,
demonstrating the ability to break down geographic boundaries in northern
NY and Vermont. I can't wait to see the smiles on the teens faces as they
discover computer graphics, web design, chat rooms and more."

To ensure participation by teens from the outset, the station is hosting three focus groups-in Burlington (May 11), in Saranac Lake (May 18), and in Canton (May 18). Teens will be encouraged to brainstorm about desirable webspace features. Two teens from each region will be selected to attend a July design retreat at Paul Smith's College, to translate suggestions into reality. The retreat will be led by NCPR's webmanager, Bill Haenel, NCPR's web outreach coordinator, Dale Hobson, NCPR's project coordinator, Shelly Pike, and student coordinator, Jeannette Aubrey. The goal is to introduce the new teen space by late fall 2002.

High school students with an interest in computer graphic design and the web, may email coordinator Shelly Pike (shelly@ncpr.org) to be considered for participation on the focus group panels and/or the July retreat. Only email inquiries will be accepted.

"Thanks to a Sweetgrass Foundation grant we were able to change a rudimentary website into a major regional resource," said Shelly Pike, project coordinator. "This grant from the Verizon Foundation will enable us to create and maintain a major youth site within our ncpr.org home site. As someone who was born and raised in the North Country, I am so excited to be helping today's teens develop a meaningful regional gathering place. The new webspace, ideally, will also be entertaining, informative, and full of interesting surprises and opportunities. We are very grateful to Verizon for this chance to make a difference in kids' lives."


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