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CharmTV Gives Youth an Outlet for Their Point of View

Stacy M. Brown | 4/27/2018, 6 a.m.
“The Avenue,” which will air Saturdays at 2 p.m. and Mondays at 7 p.m., provides city youth with an opportunity ...
(Left to right) Cordell Forbes, Kyla Jackson and Kamari James during the filming of the premier episode of “The Avenue,” a 30-minute talk show which gives young people a platform to engage and express themselves in healthy productive dialogue on a variety of topics of signifi cance to them and their peers. Courtesy Photo/CharmTV

Since the aftermath of the school shooting tragedy in Parkland, Florida, young people have taken centerstage in expressing themselves publicly on issues affecting America’s youth.

Now, Baltimore’s CharmTV has launched a new program specifically for the city’s youth to discuss issues and topics that are important to them and their peers.

“The Avenue,” which will air Saturdays at 2 p.m. and Mondays at 7 p.m., provides city youth with an opportunity to not only share their views but to get involved in the production of the show, which will include a work-study to learn about the ins and outs of television production.

“Over the past few months, it has been exciting to execute on Mayor Catherine Pugh’s vision to have programming on our network targeted to young people in Baltimore,” said Tonia Lee, the general manager of CharmTV which focuses on everything from local food and cuisine, people and neighborhoods, and history and cultural events. “Many of the topics that will be approached are important not just to the youth of Baltimore, but to youth across the country.”

“Equally important, the on-the-job training and experience that the student production crew receives will help them learn, grow, and prepare for the future,” she said.

“The Avenue” work-study production team consists of Skie Brooks, 15; Mikaela Tatum, 15; Cordell Forbes, 17; Jadzia Hall, 19; Kyla Jackson, 17; and Kamari James, 18.

“That fact that Mayor Pugh is interested in me makes me feel great not only from a personal standpoint, but the fact that she’s interested in all of Baltimore’s youth really speaks volumes,” said Kyla, who noted that she believes the top two issues facing young ones locally are violence and not having enough to do outside of school.

“The youth in this city being able to have a voice is so important to me, especially at this moment, because so much is going on,” Kyla continued. “I think adults need to know how young people feel when it comes to certain things.

The youth have so many ideas for this city to be better, and I think that we need to be heard. ‘The Avenue’ is a great place for the youth to share their thoughts and ideas.”

Kamari James said he wanted to be a part of “The Avenue” because it provides youth a chance to voice their opinion and bring topics to the table that he believes deserves awareness.

“I feel like when we talk about the topics we choose, there’s someone really listening to us that can help us make change. The top two issues that I face as a young person are being misunderstood and overlooked many times,” Kamari said.

A platform for the city’s youth is important now because it provides an opportunity to highlight pertinent issues, he said. “We also get the chance to expose events that are important to Baltimore youth as a community.”

CharmTV regularly broadcasts addresses of the mayor, City Council and other municipal meetings. It also features shows like “Game Changers,” “Who We Are,” and “My Town.”

“Being able to learn about television and television production excites me so much because I aspire to be a broadcast journalist, and this gives me an insight on what it would be like which I am truly grateful for,” Kyla said.

For Kamari, learning TV production is fun and inspiring because he is pursuing a career in filmmaking.

“I want to have a career behind-the-scenes and to see everything that takes place before, during, and after shooting makes me comfortable about my choice in going after this career,” Kamari said.

For more information about the program, “The Avenue” visit: www.charmtv.tv