Youth Radio’s Top 16 Stories Of 2016

Share this story:



Only Smiling On The Outside: Teens Hide Depression

This short but powerful audio diary captures the story of a high school class clown who is using humor to hide her own depression. “When I have my anxiety attacks, usually I lay on my back or my side and I start to hyperventilate. Inside [there are] a lot of things just going through my mind…And the more I think about it, the worse it gets.”



5dollarchallenge#5DollarChallenge: We Mapped Out The Best Meals You Can Buy For Five Bucks Or Less

Young people want meals that are quick — and also fresh and healthy and interesting.But can they get all of that for less than five bucks?Youth Radio partnered with NPR to crowdsource the best food deals from every region of the U.S. For the full picture, check out Youth Radio’s interactive map.


Homelessness_largecomicGrowing Up Homeless

By Vrndavana Hines; Illustrated by Desmond Meagley & Teresa Chin

As part of #SFHomelessProject, which included more than 70 media organizations focusing attention on the issue of homelessness, we produced this illustrated perspective from Vrndavana Hines, now 20, who as a teenager kept his homelessness a secret. This piece was awarded the 2016 SPJ Northern California Silver Heart Award.



zoemathews_portrait2_phcrteresachinWhy Lawmakers Are Ending Court Fees For Kids

By: Myles Bess

Youth Radio’s investigative team shed light on the bills families were paying (in some California counties, as much as $30 per day) related to their kids’ incarceration. After this series aired on Marketplace, several counties announced they would no longer collect these fees.




transart_mirrorsI’m Just Drawn This Way: An Illustrated Coming Out Story

By: Desmond Meagley

Long before Youth Radio’s Desmond Meagley, 19, had the words to describe his identity, he used art as an outlet. Drawing was more than a hobby for him; it was a way to find comfort when nothing else fit. This illustrated commentary was featured on NPR as part of Youth Radio’s outLoud desk, amplifying queer youth voices.




EsmeWhen Will I Feel Safe On Campus?

By: Esmé Ablaza

As a young woman about to start her freshman year in college, Esme Ablaza wrote a frank commentary about the risk of sexual assault on college campuses. “I hope that I’ll be able to focus more on making friends and challenging myself academically than on worrying about my safety.”




Noel Anaya spent a year in a group home when he was 12 years old.

When Home Feels Like A Prison: My Year In A Group Home

By: Noel Anaya

When he was 12, Noel Anaya spent a year in foster care at a group home. “The moment I stepped into a group home… I felt like it was a mistake… We were sent to the group home to turn our lives around. But for some of us, we ended up worse off than when we started.”




Alto saxophonist and 15-year-old Holland Petway uses a pressurized air spigot to blow up a balloon quickly. After, he’ll tie it by hand. Photo: Phoebe Petrovic/Youth RadioThe Teens Behind The RNC Balloon Drop

By: Phoebe Petrovic

(From our 2016 RNC/DNC coverage) 125,000 balloons dropped from the rafters on the last night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. That iconic political moment was thanks in large part to about a hundred teenagers from Garfield Heights, just outside Cleveland, who bused to the Quicken Loans Arena the week before to blow up each and every balloon.


Unarmed Water Defenders were shot with water cannons while praying at frontlines. (Image: Avery White)

Police Turn Water Cannons On Dakota Access Pipeline Protest 

By: Avery White 

Photographer and activist Avery White shares her first hand account from Standing Rock, North Dakota–site of the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline, which local Native American tribal leaders have been resisting for months due to the environmental threat the oil pipeline poses to lands they hold by treaty with the United States government.


run4prez_heroRun 4 Prez

By: Youth Radio Interactive

There was a lot of political discussion in 2016 about facts (and the lack of them). Youth Radio’s interactive team decided to run with this idea and build a race-style game for android where facts about the electoral process fuel your campaign to the White House. Download it for free at the Google Play store.


IMG_0384_02A Football Family Mulls the Decision to Quit

By: Garrison Pennington

I felt like I was making big sacrifices for a sport that I couldn’t see myself playing beyond high school. What’s all of this time and energy for?





DesmondMeagleyHigh Rents Keeping Young Adults Home With Parents

By: Desmond Meagley 

“I’ve always seen moving out on my own as a marker of adulthood, but for me, the cost outweighs the benefits.”


Best Videos Of The Year

Youth Radio’s video team dynamic duo, Riley and Syy, keep it hilariously real as they dissect and review Macklemore’s song “White Privilege.”

Oakland may not have won the NBA championship in 2016, but 73 wins ain’t bad! Youth Radio’s Young Major celebrated the Golden State Warriors’ historic season by creating an original song and music video.

Former Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele says that the Republican Party lacks authentic representation of black Americans and the issues they care about. He spoke to Youth Radio’s Soraya Shockley asked Steele about the state of race in his Party.

Best Youth Radio Music Of 2016 – “They Come Up”


Youth Radio’s Arts Team has put together a mix tape of Oakland’s best youth-made songs. The long awaited Remix Your Life mixtape “The Come Up”  is live and available here!  The compilation features creative work from Hasinnie Bennett, Ericson Sandoval, Sunday Simon, Shyra Gums, Damani Chadley, Garion Delaney, Edna Miller, Oluwafemi Ajala, Isaiah Richardson, Anatesia King, Jada Washington, Marcel Cedeno and Eli Arbreton.

Listen Now