Rural and Native Youth: Submit to PBS American Portrait

Through our Rural and Native Youth Initiative, we are thrilled to announce a partnership with PBS American Portrait: A National Storytelling Project.  PBS American Portrait is an ongoing, evolving initiative that is asking for people all across the country to contribute their experiences and perspectives to create a documentary series that captures the diversity and realities of our country. They need to hear from rural and Native young people! You can contribute a photo, a video that you take on your phone, a short paragraph, a poem, or an interview style piece that you do with a friend, colleague, teacher, or staff member. This is a unique chance to contribute and be published on a national platform and initiative. 

Do you know any rural and native young people who may be interested in participating? Email us at the Rural and Native Youth Initiative: Kim Phinney ( and Kathy Moxon (

Rural Youth Assembly logo

How does it work? 

Every few weeks, we will share a new prompt from American Portrait. Each of these prompts is a question for you to react to, share your opinions, ideas, and experiences that reflect your life and/or what you see around you in your community. We will help give you a little bit of shape to the prompt and ask you to send us what you create. We will share your contribution on the Rural Assembly blog and our social media as well as submit it to American Portrait. Worried that you might need a little help with editing what you send us? Don’t be worried, we will help you with any edits if needed. This is an opportunity for you to contribute to a timely, relevant, national conversation that is otherwise missing the rural and Native young people.

The first prompt: “I was raised to believe…”

What is a belief that you were raised with? It might be something that you still believe or something you strongly disagree with now. It might be a message that was given to you about the greater world or about yourself. It might be a value that you carry with you now or no longer. It might be something tied to your faith or be a rejection of that belief. It might be something about your community and/or our country. It might be something about friendship, work, or family. Do you feel like this belief is different or unique to rural communities or more universal? If so, why?
Think about it for a little bit or grab whatever first comes to mind. Then:
Take a picture of yourself or something or someone else in your community that reflects your response and tell us why. 
Or write a sentence or a few paragraphs and tell us your response. 
Or take a short video, telling us what your were raised to believe and why.
Or interview another young person and ask them this question, record their answer either in writing or on video and send it to us.
Or make a drawing, painting, or write a poem; it just needs to reflect your response to the question in some way.
Email your response to us at the Rural and Native Youth Initiative: Kim Phinney ( and Kathy Moxon (

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