Nonprofit Gives Young Women Crash Course in Media Savvy

Long Island Girl Talk
Long Island Girl Talk empowers young women with leadership skills. (Photo Credit Kelly-Ann Rivera, Director of Production, Long Island Girl Talk)

Much has been written about the media’s negative impact on how young women see themselves, but one group of nonprofit visionaries is taking action by giving girls the skills to recast themselves.

The organizers of Long Island Girl Talk (LIGT) meet with Long Island middle school and high school-aged girls once a month to provide workshops that teach them how to film episodes of their own local cable TV show.

“LIGT is about more than teaching girls how to produce their own media,” said Marcia McNair, a Nassau Community College journalism professor who’s the executive director and founder of the group. “It’s about creating a generation of more thoughtful consumers of media. We want our girls to think twice about their viewing choices, recognize stereotypes, and use social media more responsibly both in terms of what they post and read.”

McNair and her team train students in male-dominated technical roles, such as camera, sound, and graphic work. They are also educated on social issues that affect them both as women and LI residents. The goal is to boost their self-esteem by allowing them to create their own media presence that celebrates the average girl. The work they do has the added benefit of helping the girls develop leadership skills.

Seven in 10 girls “believe that they are not good enough or don’t measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school, and relationships with friends and family members,” according to dosomething.org.

Having a hand in producing media instead of just consuming it has helped young girls who are struggling with their sense of self-worth and personal empowerment.

“It’s been an opportunity of a lifetime,” says Kelly-Ann Rivera, LIGT’s director of production.

Tune in to Long Island Girl Talk on Cablevision Ch. 115 at 6 p.m. Saturdays, on Verizon Ch. 40 at 12 p.m. Mondays and 6:30 p.m. Thursdays and on YouTube. They will also be hosting their First Annual Girls Empowerment Conference at Roosevelt Public Library 9 a.m.-3 p.m. March 17. For more information, visit longislandgirltalk.org

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