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YR Media Receives Grant to Expand Its Mental Health Programming to the Midwest – Enabling Broad Support of Youth Content Creators

Continued support from funding partner Pivotal Ventures enables award-winning Oakland-based youth media organization to expand successful social and emotional health focus core to its mission and grow its Midwest Hub

OAKLAND, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–YR Media today announced it has received a new high impact grant from Pivotal Ventures, allowing the organization to expand to a physical location in Chicago, and to provide more resources to its growing network of students. In light of the incredible success of YR Media’s model for supporting young people’s mental health and well-being through narrative change and focus on youth voice, the organization will use the new grant to continue its unique mental wellness editorial coverage and provide students and youth content creators with on-site and virtual support. This includes access to therapists, case management, academic advising and healthy food at YR Media’s headquarters and its soon-to-be developed physical site for the virtual Midwest hub. These resources aim to address social and emotional needs of students and young content creators, especially those from underrepresented and historically excluded communities, including BIPOC and LGBTQ+.

“As we shift our Midwest hub from virtual to a physical location in Chicago by the end of 2022, we wanted to be certain to do so with the same intentionality and focus on wellness of our teen and early twenty-something YR stars, as has been established in our Oakland headquarters,” said Kyra Kyles, CEO, YR Media. “Following this model helps our young content creators produce their best work and adds authentic, invaluable voices to the mainstream marketplace. We also aim to share our model with others who work with adolescents to make it easier for them to implement, adapt and expand.”

This grant follows the success of a prior Pivotal Ventures investment in YR Media’s Beyond Self-Care editorial and social storytelling effort, which culminated in a multi-day series in spring of 2021. The content from the summit helped provide young writers, producers and artists with the tools to report on mental health and well-being stories while caring for their own.

In that spirit, and also through support from Pivotal Ventures, YR Media released a white paper from its in-house research team that captures learnings amid the Beyond Self Care initiative. The Narrative Change and Impact white paper documents the need for safe spaces online where young people can leverage media creation to be the producers of their own stories and engage in supportive conversations about mental health and well-being, and share their own, as well as their communities’, stories, with an audience of their peers. YR Media’s broader approach is to broach these topics in collaboration with teen and young adult creators. The key actionable takeaways from this youth co-led initiative are designed to inform work at the intersection of media and youth mental health. To read the full whitepaper, visit

For more information on YR Media, visit

About YR Media

YR Media, formerly Youth Radio, is an award-winning leading media, technology and music training center and platform for emerging BIPOC content creators who are using their voices to change the world. Headquartered in downtown Oakland, California, the non-profit has spent nearly 30 years helping future generations build crucial skills in journalism and multimedia content. They produce journalism, music, graphic design, podcasts and documentaries that disrupt and shape the mainstream narrative.


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