JYD is interested in partnering with youth workers to encourage young people they know to participate in this important opportunity and submit their personal essays.
Youth authors could be immigrants or refugees or children of immigrants or refugees. They also could have immigrated to the U.S. with or without their families or have lived along the U.S. and Mexico/Canadian borders. JYD is interested in publishing stories from youth about what it is like being directly impacted by immigrant, refugee or border life experiences.
There have been steady increases in the number of immigrant and refugee youth from all over the world settling in the United States, which makes them the fastest growing population segment. These demographic changes are significant and have resulted in exposing cultural, racial/ethnic, linguistic and religious differences to U.S. citizenry. However, despite a rich U.S. history of welcoming newcomers, this youth population has frequently faced unique challenges related to cultural and social adaptation, language proficiency, poverty, and discrimination. Furthermore, U.S. discourse on the national socio-political level has led to the marginalization of youth voices in preference to adults dominating the master narratives in research, mainstream media, education and policy-making spheres. This special issue is designed to allow youth to negotiate, resist and respond to their socio-political marginalization through their direct involvement as authors and experts on their lives. Equally important is JYD's belief that by providing a space for immigrant, refugee and border youth to use their voice to declare their truth, tell their stories and write about their experiences for a wide and diverse audience, we can create a broader understanding of the youth in the very communities impacted by JYD's work.
JYD invites youth (students in grades five through 12 and young adults up to 25 years of age) to submit personal narratives about what it is like being directly impacted by immigrant, refugee or border life experiences. JYD is open to receiving multiple types of personal stories but is not looking for an overall generic essay about your entire life; rather, specific in-depth stories that youth tell with illuminating details and rich descriptions. JYD is particularly interested in stories that reference formal or informal youth program experiences, such as like summer day camps, sports, afterschool activities and clubs. Submissions should be one to five pages, typed, double-spaced, 12 font size, 1-inch border.
Personal essays are encouraged to address one or more of these questions:
- What is it like adjusting to life in a new culture? Share a specific experience.
- What obstacles have you overcome as you adjust to life in a new culture? Share a specific experience.
- What experiences have been most challenging?
- What has been helpful in your adjustment to a new culture?
- Are you involved in any youth programs outside of school? If so, in what ways have these programs impacted your life?
- Describe one of your most memorable (positive, negative or both) experience in a youth program, and how the program staff contributed to that unique experience. Why does this experience stand out to you as most memorable?
- Looking back, where and from whom did you learn the most important life lessons?
- When things get tough, what keeps you going? Tell us how this inspires you to press on.
- What would make youth programs more appealing to you?
- Who or what has supported and/or challenged you? How has this been important for you?
- Describe a youth program or event that represents something unique about your family life, or your neighborhood. What are some important lessons that you learn from being part of an immigrant, refugee or border family and/or an ethnic community?
- How have your cultural values, faith or spirituality shaped your life goals and experience(s)?
A limited number of pieces will be selected for publication in the special issue, slated to be published in summer 2019. Published pieces will represent a variety of ages, perspectives and ideas. Guest editors are looking for pieces that are engaging and that demonstrate a strong voice. It's encouraged to send any questions you may have about the writing process.
Please include the title of your work and your name in the subject line. Make sure to also include the following in the email:
- Your full name
- Your mailing address
- Your telephone number
- Your email address
Essays should be submitted by October 15, 2018, to the special issue guest editors:
- Aishia Brown, Ph.D., University of Louisville, email@example.com
- Gayle Gabriel, Ph.D., Public Policy Research Institute, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jill Martz, Ph.D., Texas A&M University, email@example.com
Information courtesy of Journal of Youth Development.