Kids take the mic

Adobe understands that sometimes being heard is everything.

One night in Noida, India, Subbi M., an Adobe employee, was watching a professional dance troupe performance. He was about to head out after the show when he felt a tap on his shoulder.

“Do you remember me?”

It was one of the dancers, but the young man’s face was painted with makeup. Subbi couldn’t place him.

ayv-artwork1“I was in Adobe Youth Voices,” the dancer said. “I wanted to tell you that the program is one of the reasons I’m here. It took away my stage fright and gave me a voice and the confidence to perform.”

It’s just one of the many stories that define Adobe Youth Voices, the six-year-old Adobe program that serves 130,000 underprivileged kids in 800 sites and 52 countries. The program gives low-income schools free Adobe software and an after-school curriculum designed to inspire them to think creatively.

ayv-artwork3“Young people learn how to create an original media piece — videos, essays, animations, music — about something they’re passionate about,” says Patricia C., program manager at the Adobe Foundation.

Adobe employees provide creative insight and critiques to students along the way. “The kids come into the office to show us their films and they’re really nervous and excited,” says Mary Anne B., an Adobe volunteer in San Francisco, California. “For our part, we get to be blown away by their talent.”

ayv-artwork2At the end of the year, the kids at each site have the chance to present their work to a live audience, enter it into Adobe’s worldwide Aspire Awards competition, and apply for Adobe creativity scholarships.

“I love that we celebrate the work that underprivileged students create,” says Matt N., an Adobe volunteer in New York, New York. “These students don’t often get heard. But Adobe cares about what they have to say.”

 

Meet a few of the Adobe Youth Voices volunteers from around the world.

ayv-subbi

Domain expert • Noida, India

What is your most memorable experience from the program?

“One of the students who participated in the program is now in college. It’s been six years since that time, and he still calls me to talk about his results and ask for career advice. So it’s a relationship that goes beyond being a part of the program.”

What does the program mean to you?

“When the parents come to you and hold your hands and say, ‘We never thought our child could do this’ — that gets me hooked.”

ayv-maryann

Quality assurance engineer • San Francisco, California, USA

Can you share a success story from the program?

“I was critiquing the video project of a group of 12-year-old girls. They were so shy, but so proud. One got up to talk and then ran out of the room because she was so nervous. But she came back and started again. So you can see that the program is not only helping to inspire the kids’ creativity, but also the ability to speak in front of other people. Instilling kids with confidence and presence is absolutely something they’re going to use again.”

What does the program mean to you? 

“I’m an artist and I love storytelling, which is why I was drawn to the program. For me it’s all about empowering people’s voices, and if you can do it in a creative way — that’s the ultimate.”

ayv-patricia

Program manager, Adobe Foundation • San Francisco, California, USA

How does this program influence the kids and their future?

“A lot of them are struggling in school, and this shows them they’re talented. They build incredible skills — handling information, working in teams, and thinking outside the box. They can take these skill sets into a variety of fields in the creative economy.”

What does the program mean to you?

“Being involved in this community has been life-changing. I got my degree in international education because I believe the connections that can happen across cultures are inspiring.”

ayv-matt

Worldwide education programs manager • New York, New York, USA

Can you share an experience from the program?

“I take it for granted that we have this really beautiful office overlooking Times Square. We gave 20 to 25 Adobe Youth Voices students a tour, and then we had a panel where students learned about what we do here. It goes beyond creating with our software. It’s a way to show students the options they have.”

What does this program mean to you?

“I have a desire to impact my community. I love that we can equip students who are at a disadvantage with skills that can be helpful for the future.”

ayv-alex

Sales support coordinator • Maidenhead, England

What does this program provide for students?

“Quite often their inspiration comes from something troubling them, and they need to express it. Knowing that it’s being acknowledged fuels their self-esteem and confidence.”

What does this program mean to you?

“For me, it’s the whole experience of meeting people who are using our products and seeing what they’re doing with our software. Adobe isn’t just paying lip service. It’s allowing these kids to benefit in a way that fuels their self-esteem and confidence.”

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