I have served as a board member of Free Spirit Media since 2008 which is longer than I have served on any board or even volunteered for any one organization! I continue to volunteer on behalf of this organization because I have seen the results! FSM is a well run non-for-profit that provides much needed opportunities for young people in some of Chicago’s most under-resourced neighborhoods. I have lived in Chicago since the mid 80’s and have seen first hand what happens when kids do not have options and opportunities. Their world is constrained by gang boundaries, poverty, fear and violence and the wonderful opportunities sometimes just a few miles away seem as far away as another state or even country. Chicago is a tale of two cities.
FSM introduces these young people to the world of media making right outside their door- helping them find their voice and tell their stories while also connecting them to media professionals in Chicago that serve as their mentors. FSM has grown tremendously since its inception in 2000 but what I have seen first hand is a youth media organization that has risen to the top locally and nationally because it stays true to its mission and grows in a smart way intended to provide more and better options to the young people it serves.