Ricky’s Story

Ricky (a pseudonym), who was an early participant in Snow Pond’s StoryCorps sessions at Waterville’s South End Teen Center (SETC), which began in June 2022. Snow Pond’s staff first met Ricky when he attended its Learn to Own music program at SETC. His background included an unstable home environment, food insecurity, and lack of support. He would barely make eye contact.

Ricky (a pseudonym), who was an early participant in Snow Pond’s StoryCorps sessions at Waterville’s South End Teen Center (SETC), which began in June 2022. Snow Pond’s staff first met Ricky when he attended its Learn to Own music program at SETC. His background included an unstable home environment, food insecurity, and lack of support. He would barely make eye contact.

Ricky participated in StoryCorps because he wanted to learn about the roles of interviewer and interviewee. When he tried these skills during a live on-camera session, he looked straight into the camera, proudly introduced himself, and dove into an inquisitive and empathetic interview process with a younger teen. Due in part to his patient questioning, the interview became a rich discussion revealing the interviewee’s concerns around theocratic Christian influences in America as a member of a minority religious group.

When it was his turn to be interviewed, Ricky shared a vision of his “future self,” in which, he would have a positive impact on protecting the natural resources of Maine, as the population grows, and energy demands increase.

In September, with support from Snow Pond’s teaching artist, Ricky and another teen used the StoryCorps model to prepare for a public speaking event at the UWKV’s HOPEFUL sign-lighting in Augusta. They each stepped up and spoke to the importance of UWKV funding to the crowd. As the school year moved forward, Ricky used his StoryCorps skills on a homework project, in which he interviewed local farmers about sustainable farming practices. He prepared a question list, conducted and recorded the interviews, and edited a musical track to create a podcast about local farmers.

Snow Pond believes this story illustrates the transformation that can take place when a teen believes that they matter – that their story, opinions and dreams matter; and as they learn to communicate these aspirations publicly, they learn to believe in themselves.

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